Plea bargain ends with Port Angeles man freed

53-year-old’s 2017 conviction for stabbing overturned in January

PORT ANGELES — A 53-year-old man whose 2017 conviction for stabbing a friend was overturned Jan. 22 by the state Court of Appeals walked out of the Clallam County jail a free man Tuesday.

John Greystoke of Port Angeles, who had been sentenced to nearly 10 years for first-degree assault following a jury trial, was sentenced Tuesday for the same offense to 48 months, with credit for 48 months served, by Clallam County Superior Court Judge Brent Basden.

Greystoke pleaded guilty at the hearing to first-degree assault as part of an agreement with the prosecuting attorney’s office.

According to court records, Greystoke, diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder and auditory hallucinations, was found competent to stand trial in 2017 after two mental health evaluations.

But the appeals court ruled then-Judge Chris Melly should have informed the jury that they could convict Greystoke of second-degree assault, distinguishing it from first-degree assault by way of intent.

“Based on the evidence presented, a jury could rationally find that Greystoke acted with the intent to stab [Adam] Gross but not with the intent to inflict great bodily harm,” the court ruled.

“Viewed in a light most favorable to Greystoke, this evidence would permit a jury to rationally find that Greystoke likely intended to scare or injure Gross but that he did not intend to inflict harm that created a probability of death,” according to the opinion.

“Greystoke did not dispute that he stabbed Gross nor did he deny that Gross’s wound was serious. Thus, in asking for the inferior degree assault instruction, the jury was evidently wrestling with whether Greystoke had the requisite intent to commit first-degree assault.”

The court of appeals also said Melly had ruled the wound to the man “went from below his belly button to the central part of his chest,” according to the ruling.

“This assertion, however, was incorrect because the stab wound was only one inch long, but the wound was made larger during surgery.”

Greystoke stabbed Gross in the stomach with a 3½-inch knife at Greystoke’s South C Street apartment, according to court records.

He assaulted Gross when Gross and his girlfriend repeatedly refused to leave, and after Greystoke was notified he was getting evicted, according to court documents.

They had stayed at the apartment in violation of Greystoke’s lease, according to the records.

Dressed in pink tights, Greystoke ran from the apartment, immediately told a stranger about the incident, waited for police to arrive and helped authorities locate the knife.

Gross was found “lying at the curb, holding his intestines in,” according to the probable cause statement.

Gross recovered after receiving lifesaving treatment at Olympic Medical Center, Deputy Criminal Prosecuting Attorney Steve Johnson said at Tuesday’s hearing.

“Everyone is lucky that Mr. Gross was not injured more severely.

“This resolution factors in Mr. Greystoke’s mental status at the time of these events.”

Greystoke acted as his own counsel at his trial with assistance from Clallam Public Defender Harry Gasnick.

Greystoke, who did not address Basden at the sentencing, constantly took noticeable deep breaths throughout the 30-minute sentencing.

Gasnick said Greystoke controlled his psychosis during the pendency of his trial and the proceedings.

“He was hearing voices that weren’t there,” Gasnick said.

“He was able to identify them as hallucinations and therefore ignore them.

“Imagine having someone yammering at you, unwanted, for 24 hours a day, day after day, month after month.

“That’s what this gentleman was enduring.”

Basden also sentenced Greystoke to three years of community custody, during which Greystoke’s compliance with mental health recommendations will be closely monitored.

Basden said he was aware of the circumstances leading up to the stabbing but said it was not an excuse.

“I think you actually recognize that,” he said.

“You took a step that can never be OK.”

In his ruling, Basden signed a lifetime no-contact order preventing Greystoke from ever talking with Gross again.

Greystoke also cannot own any knife that is more than 3 inches long.

Greystoke told Basden he would live with his mother upon his release.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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