Man gets prison term for golf club attack

Man gets prison term for golf club attack »Play Video
Nicholas Shampine listens to testimony during Thursday's sentencing.
SEATTLE - A 34-year-old golfer was sentenced to 21 months in prison Thursday for bashing another golfer over the head with a 6-iron during a fight on the Auburn Golf Course last year.

Nicholas Jay Shampine of Puyallup was sentenced after his conviction on second-degree assault charges in King County Superior Court. The prison term was at the high end of the sentencing range for that crime.

The victim, 45-year-old James Compton of Puyallup, was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center after the attack, which left him with permanent brain damage and memory loss.

Prosecutors have called the golf club used in the attack "a deadly weapon" that Shampine wielded like a baseball bat.

Judge Deborah D. Fleck said a prison term at the high end of the sentencing range is justified because Compton will suffer from the effects of the attack for the rest of his life.

"In my view, you have forever changed (Compton's) life," she told Shampine, "and it has had an impact on his family that is profound."

"You will be able to pay the price and then go on with your life. You will not suffer brain damage, emotional changes that preclude you from everyday enjoyment of life," she said to Shampine. "In my view, Mr. Compton and his family won't have that opportunity."

Shampine also will serve 18 to 36 months in community custody.

The attack followed a confrontation between two groups of golfers at the 14th green of the Auburn Golf Course in July 2008.

Prosecutors say the attack occurred after Compton's foursome became upset because Shampine's foursome was playing too slowly in front of them and complained to the golf course marshal.

Shampine said in court Thursday that he was rushing to defend his brother, who he said was grabbed by Compton during the argument. But he admitted that he went overboard in hitting Compton with a club.

"I felt that I did need to protect my brother ... and yet I'm sorry for the pain I've caused," he said to the judge.