Blaine man sentenced in baseball bat beating

Published on Thu, Sep 23, 2010 by By Jeremy Schwartz

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A Blaine man pleaded guilty to beating two other men after a prank got serious in Bellingham in 2008.

Jeffrey W. Chapman, of Blaine, pleaded guilty on Thursday, September 16 to third degree assault in Whatcom County Superior Court. Chapman was arrested along with Bellingham resident Virgil Van Duisen, who also pleaded guilty.

The men were sentenced to pay about $9,000 in compensation for medical bills, attend anger-management classes, and serve two months on a county work crew.

The assault happened after three men, Jason Sams, Canaan Upton and Jackson Frazier, decided to moon the people inside Access Comics in Bellingham in the early morning hours of October 25, 2008, according to court documents. While their bare buttocks were pressed against the window, it broke.

The three men fled, and Chapman and Van Duisen decided to go after them but not before Chapman went to his car to get his baseball bat. Chapman and Van Duisen caught up with the three men just north of the comic shop on a trail running parallel to Squalicum Parkway.

Once Chapman and Van Duisen confronted the other men, the stories diverge. Frazier, who was able to escape the beating and get help, told officers Van Duisen descended on the three men unprovoked and hit Sams in the side of the head with the baseball bat, beating him more once Sams went to the ground.

Frazier eventually pulled Van Duisen off of Sams. Chapman and Van Duisen left the area, after retrieving both pieces of the bat, which had been broken over Sams’ head.

Sams was later transported by ambulance to St. Joseph hospital with a fractured skull, multiple facial injuries and a severe concussion and was released.

Several minutes after the incident, police got a hold of Chapman and Van Duisen who told a slightly different story. Chapman and Van Duisen told police the three men immediately attacked them as soon as they approached and had to fight back in self-defense.

Chapman admitted he hit Sams in the head at least twice after the group attacked Van Duisen. Chapman also admitted to hitting Upton at least once because he was unsure if Upton had a weapon in his pocket.

Contrary to Frazier’s story, Chapman said Sams was on top of Van Duisen when Chapman hit Sams in the head twice, breaking the bat. After the bat was broken, Chapman said he and Van Duisen picked up the two pieces and left.