Forks man sentenced for assault, witness intimidation

Clallam County Superior Court Judge Brian Coughenour issued a 31-month sentence.

PORT ANGELES — A Forks man has been sentenced to two years, seven months in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree assault and witness intimidation.

Joseph Angel Garza Jr., 26, was sentenced for the violent assault and intimidation of a La Push man March 14, the Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said.

Upon his release, Garza will be subject to 18 months of state Department of Corrections supervision, a no-contact order with the victim and financial obligations, Chief Criminal Deputy Michele Devlin said in a news release.

Forks police said Garza believed the victim had been involved in the theft of about 5 pounds of marijuana from a third party.

Probable cause

“Joseph stated that he was offered drugs and money to find his stolen marijuana and hurt the people who took it,” Officer Donald Ponton wrote in the affidavit for probable cause.

Garza told police that he punched the victim in the face, held a blowtorch to his face and threatened to cut off his ear, according to the arrest narrative.

The victim, who sustained a broken nose but refused medical aid, told police that Garza also hit him with a flashlight and held him against his will, police said.

“The next day [the victim] was able to run away and delayed reporting the incident because he was frightened that Joseph would kill him,” Ponton wrote.

Garza admitted that heroin found on his bed belonged to him, police said.

Garza was originally charged in Clallam County Superior Court with two counts of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon — the blowtorch and a knife — unlawful imprisonment, intimidating a witness and heroin possession.

He pleaded guilty to the amended charges Tuesday.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge Brian Coughenour issued a 31-month sentence as recommended by Devlin and defense attorney Ralph Anderson.

Garza was being held Thursday at the Washington Corrections Center near Shelton.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.

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