Blaine man, 19, faces two charges of assault with a deadly weapon
By Tara Nelson
A Blaine man remains in jail following his alleged involvement in an assault on two Bellingham men with a baseball bat last month.
Jeffrey W. Chapman, 19, of Blaine, is being held on $150,000 bail after pleading not guilty to two charges of first degree assault with a deadly weapon in Whatcom County Superior Court on November 7.
The charges carry a maximum sentence of up to 17 years in prison.
According to Whatcom County Court records, Chapman and his friend Virgil Van Duisen, 42, of Bellingham, chased down three men and beat two of them with a baseball bat following a confrontation near Access Comics and Games on Northwest Avenue in Bellingham on October 25.
Court records indicate 23-year-old Jason Sams, of Bellingham, along with 24-year-old Canaan Upton and their friend Jackson Frazier had been drinking at the Village Inn tavern and had stopped at the nearby comics store about 2:15 a.m.
After being asked to leave because of their disorderly conduct, they left the store and pressed their bare buttocks against the front window mooning the owner and customers inside. This caused the window to break and the three men then ran off.
Van Duisen and Chapman, both customers in the store, ran after the three men but first stopped to get a baseball bat out of the trunk of one of their cars, said Sgt. Ken Brown of the Bellingham Police Department.
Van Duisen and Chapman caught up to Upton and Sams on a trail near Squalicum Parkway where they allegedly beat them with a baseball bat. Frazier was able to escape and call for help.
Deputy prosecuting attorney Eric Richey said while it is unclear who initiated the attacks, one witness claimed it was Van Duisen who committed the beatings.
“We’re still working on how this all went and what really happened,” he said.
“We’re hoping to find some DNA on the bat.”
According to court records, Frazier told police Van Duisen came out from some bushes where he had been hiding and immediately struck Sams on the side of the head without saying anything. After Sams fell to the ground, Van Duisen jumped on him and struck him several more times on the head with the bat before Frazier was able to get Van Duisen off Sams.
When police arrived, however, Chapman was carrying the bat, which was broken in half from the impact, and Van Duisen had blood on his clothing but was not cut.
Both Chapman and Van Duisen told police they had been attacked by Sams, Upton and Frazier.
After further investigation, Sams, Upton and Frazier told police both Van Duisen and Chapman had attacked them on the trail with no warning and both had assaulted them with a baseball bat.
Following those interviews, Chapman admitted to striking Sams in the head with the bat at least two times – once in the face and once on the side of the head, which broke the bat in two. He also admitted to striking Upton on the side of the head because his hands were in his pockets and he was unsure if he had a weapon.
Sams suffered a fractured skull, multiple facial fractures and a severe concussion and was transported by ambulance to St. Joseph hospital. He was later released.
Upton was treated for facial fractures and cuts. He was released after treatment.
Van Duisen is being held on $25,000 bail.
Their trial date is scheduled for January 5 in Whatcom County Superior Court.