Updated Wed, Oct 30, 2013 1:04 pm
A Logan man charged with brutally assaulting a man in front of a Nelsonville bar was sentenced to four years in prison on Wednesday. Issac O'Rourke, 25, appeared in Athens County Common Pleas Court to agree to a plea deal on the charge of felonious assault.
The man is charged with assaulting Joe Schultz, 49, on Sept. 8, resulting in hospitalization of the man and potentially permanent brain damage, according to previous Messenger reporting. Schultz was taken to Grant Medical Center after Nelsonville police found the man on a porch with serious head injuries.
Schultz was comatose until late September and prosecutors were not sure whether he would survive. Doctors have said his brain function is limited and he has no eyesight, The Messenger previously reported.
The man is now at a nursing home for rehabilitation, according to Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn.
"This case shows again what can happen with excessive alcohol and youthful aggression," Blackburn said. "The path of two families have been forever changed."
Members of Schultz's family who have been attending hearings throughout the case chose to speak at the change of plea hearing.
"I believe this was an accident and wished there was a place other than prison for him," said Rudy Schultz, Joe's brother.
The victim's sister told the court she hopes O'Rourke takes advantage of programs in prison.
The family of Joe Schultz and the family of O'Rourke spoke before the hearing, saying they all agreed that O'Rourke needed help for his addiction.
Judge L. Alan Goldsberry told O'Rourke that, according to the plea agreement, if he does not receive a negative warden's report, the prosecution would not oppose judicial release after Oct. 30, 2014.
If a motion for judicial release is granted, O'Rourke would be required to submit to evaluation by Health Recovery Services, Goldsberry said.