ALLEGAN, Mich.– A combat veteran from Allegan County facing life in prison was back in court Friday for his pre-trial hearing. It’s a story we broke first earlier this month, 22-year-old Anthony McFarlane is charged with assault with intent to murder after Ostego Police say he stabbed someone back in January.
Signs lined the lawn outside the courthouse Monday, a peaceful protest to show support for McFarlane who just returned from Afghanistan about a year and a half ago. His attorney and family say his case comes down to a matter of self-defense.
Court documents show that McFarlane and three of his friends who were present told police the victim instigated the altercation, saying he pushed McFarlane into a mailbox and back against a wall. The victim though tells police a different story. He says that McFarlane stepped out in front of him and asked if he “rememberd him” from a previous encounter they had, that’s when the victim says he grabbed McFarlane’s collar to pull him out-of-the-way and was stabbed.
Two sides of what happened that day, that now will rest in the hands of a jury.
During court Friday, Allegan County Prosecutor Fredrick Anderson told the judge “we’ve offered a four-year felony of felonious assault to this particular case.”
McFarlanes attorney Micahel Gawecki disputed that; “that was not the offer, I’m not in a position to barter away a veterans benefits because he if he goes into incarnation for more than 60 days he will lose his VA disability benefits. With all due respect that was not the offer that was offered to me.”
Another point of discussion Friday was McFarlanes mental health. While the defense says he has been diagnosed with PTSD and a traumatic brain injury, prosecutors say they have seen no paper work to support that. The judge asked the prosecutor to file a written request for McFarlanes medical records.
But for his family, mental illness or not, they say it still goes back to their son being able to defend himself in his own country. In fact Gawecki says he plans to file a motion, where Senator Rick Jones will testify about the “Stand Your Ground” bill he introduced back in 2006, a bill that specifically address’ a person’s right to defend themselves.
Following court Friday, McFarlane’s attorney Michael Gawecki sent Fox17 this statement: “I will not barter Anthony’s life away with a plea bargain. As Anthony’s attorney I have come to realize I am up against enormous odds. The prosecutor’s office is well-funded with a full staff of attorneys and paralegals that wish to saddle Anthony with charges that in my opinion, do not hold water. This case is more than just about Anthony. This case symbolizes that the little guy can fight back and win against all odds. Look no further than how this great country was founded. At this point, Anthony’s fate will be decided by a jury of his peers.”
CLICK HERE TO HEAR FROM THE SOLDIER IN OUR ORIGINAL INTERVIEW:
CLICK HERE TO SEE VIDEO OF VICTIM’S STATEMENT TO POLICE:
- Returning Local Soldier Charged with Attempted Murder (fox17online.com)
- Man Stabbed By Veteran Tells Police His Side (fox17online.com)