Aaron Jack-Kroeger was convicted Monday morning of one count of assault causing bodily harm and acquitted of two charges over incidents at a sunset graduation party in 2015.
K.W., whom the Western News will not name due to uncertainty of his age at the time of the incident, was assaulted repeatedly by another man as he returned to his tent on June 17, 2015 at that year’s sunset party, a yearly party outside city limits for students graduating from high school.
As K.W. was walking back, he crossed paths with another group, and reportedly was punched in the head by another young man, Jack-Kroeger After he fell to the ground, he recalled the group kicking him in the head and other parts of his body.
K.W. believed the assault knocked him unconscious, and the incident left him with stitches in his head and “extensive dental work,” Judge Gregory Koturbash said in his decision hearing.
K.W. said he believed his assailant to be a caucasian male, but because he had never seen the man before, and the darkness shrouded the man’s identity to some degree, he was unable to identify Jack-Kroeger.
“Although he said that Mr. Jack-Kroeger looked like the guy, he could not be certain,” Koturbash said. “He also acknowledged being influenced by photographs that he had seen, that he had been shown by others, of his alleged assailant.”
Another party attendee testified that he witnessed the assault, arriving to the scene when K.W. was already on the ground being kicked “by at least four people,” though another witness said just two people were kicking K.W.
One witness was able to identify Jack-Kroeger as one of the assailants, saying he had known the Jack-Kroeger all his life, and at one point hung out together.
According to that witness, the assault had reportedly lasted for five to 10 minutes, with Jack-Kroeger kicking K.W. at least 10 times, while K.W. was not fighting back.
He said he had attempted to stop the assault by pulling people away, but Jack-Kroeger continued to kick K.W.
Jack-Kroeger reportedly told a witness half an hour earlier he was looking for the person who sucker punched him.
He was also accused of attacking a girl at the party with a baton, following the assault on K.W. But Jack-Kroeger testified he had intervened in a fight between that girl and another, pulling the baton away from one of the girls and struggling with the other, telling her he would not fight her.
In his judgement, Koturbash said he was impressed with two of the witnesses, whom he noted were less intoxicated the night of the incidents than others who testified.
Jack-Kroeger, Koturbash said, was an unreliable witness due to the amount of alcohol he consumed that night and his lack of memory of the incident “due to the passage of time.”
Koturbash said he was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Jack-Kroeger assaulted K.W., causing bodily harm, however the testimony on the alleged assault on the girl was too contradictory between all of those who testified.
Koturbash said he could not rely on any testimony in the the trial over that assault, and could not say Jack-Kroeger was guilty of the assault beyond a reasonable doubt.
A sentencing hearing for Jack-Kroeger is expected to run later this week.
That assault wasn’t the only violence to recently hit the annual sunset party. It came four years after the stabbing death of Andrew McAdam at the hands of Jamie Wolanski, who was sentenced to six years in prison in September 2013 for manslaughter.