A 26-year-old California man admitted Tuesday that he battered a man outside a Stateline casino last December so severely, the victim was left with shattered eye and jaw bones, and a knee injury.
Zachary Maurice Peck of El Grenada, Calif., pleaded guilty to battery causing substantial bodily harm. He faces up to five years in prison, a $10,000 fine and restitution at his sentencing Dec. 4 before District Judge Dave Gamble.
"Regretfully, on Dec. 11, I got in an altercation that resulted in substantial bodily harm," Peck told the judge.
"That sort of implies the fight was mutual. What you pleaded to was that you attacked the victim, 'repeatedly struck and kicked him while he lay unmoving on the ground,'" Gamble said, reading from the criminal complaint.
"I got in a fight and used more force than was necessary," Peck said.
"Was it your fault? Was it criminal?" Gamble asked.
"Yes," said Peck.
According to reports, deputies were dispatched to Highway 50 in front of the Montbleu casino shortly before 2 a.m. Dec. 11.
The suspect was being followed by a witness, and was detained by a deputy after he was identified as the alleged assailant.
The victim, of Livermore, Calif., was transported by Care Flight to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno.
Peck reportedly said he and a group of friends got into an argument with the victim. Peck said he thought the victim wanted to fight, and since Peck was the largest member of his group, he punched the victim in the face. Peck told the officer when the man fell to the ground, he kicked him once and walked away.
The deputy said Peck had blood smeared on his pants, shoe and sock, a welt on his forehead and bruised knuckles. He told the deputy he suffered the injuries "horsing around" with his friends the day before.
Three witnesses said they reportedly observed Peck fighting with the victim while the victim's son tried to come to his father's rescue.
After the victim fell to the ground, Peck reportedly punched and kicked him, according to witnesses, although he appeared to be unconscious.
On a video surveillance, the suspect is observed punching the victim in the face. He reportedly struck back, then fell to the ground on his back. Peck is seen on the tape straddling the man, and punching him multiple times in the face. The victim did not defend himself.
Observers reportedly pulled Peck off the man, but he walked back to the victim and kicked him in the head.
According to the report, the kick "significantly moved (the victim's) limp body from where it was resting, sliding across the sidewalk."
A month after the battery, deputies met with the victim who said he suffered a shattered right eye orbital bone, and broken jaw. He told the deputy he had to wear a knee brace and was awaiting results of X-rays to determine the extent of his injuries.
The victim and his son said prior to the battery, they were at a casino bar drinking beer. He said they had no contact with the suspect and his friends prior to the battery.
The man said he didn't remember anything until he woke up in the hospital.
The son said he couldn't remember how the incident started or who punched him. He remembered getting up off the ground, and going over to help his father.
In a plea agreement with the district attorney's office, additional charges against Peck were dismissed. The state agreed to recommend 12-30 months in prison. He is also eligible for probation.
The judge is free to consider statements of the victim and his son at sentencing.