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Plea possible in assault case

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Lance M. Fongemie
August 15, 2019 05:27 pm Updated: August 15, 2019 11:03 pm

HUDSON — A city man accused of beating another Hudson man unconscious in July will have to wait several months before he is sentenced as attorneys decide the amount of restitution in his case.

Lance M. Fongemie, 35, was indicted in August on a charge of second-degree assault, a class D violent felony. Fongemie is accused of punching Brett Worth during a verbal argument that escalated on the street near Bliss Towers, 41 N. Second St., on July 15.

Worth attempted to punch back but fell to the ground in mid-swing. Fongemie allegedly punched Worth in the face multiple times, even after he was unconscious.

Worth suffered a broken nose and a broken bone under his eye and he received nine stitches on his brow. Fongemie allegedly called the victim a f****t minutes before the first blow.

Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka told the court Thursday that he spoke to Worth prior to the court appearance.

“He looks remarkably better, but, as I said, he continues to require additional surgeries,” Czajka said.

Columbia County Judge Jonathan Nichols on Thursday committed to a four-year prison sentence in the case and a maximum of three years post-release supervision.

The maximum sentence for the assault charge is seven years and the minimum is two years. Nichols gave Fongemie until Sept. 3 to submit a response to a plea agreement in the case. As part of the plea, Fongemie would have to waive his right to appeal.

If Fongemie does not take the plea, he faces a trial and the possible maximum sentence, Nichols told him.

Worth will need several reconstructive surgeries, the cost of which is yet to be determined. A pre-sentence investigation would take about six to eight weeks, but it may take three to four months to determine the medical costs, which Fongemie will be ordered to pay. Fongemie is being held in the Columbia County Jail without bail.

“If I make a commitment to sentencing based on the information that I know now, it is going to be contingent on the determination of restitution,” Nichols said. “That is going to be at a much later date, I suspect.”

In response, Attorney John Leonardson, who represents Fongemie, told Nichols that he and his client understand the circumstances.

Nichols estimated the restitution in the case would likely be “significant.” He reviewed the tapes of Fongemie’s interviews with police before committing to the sentence.

“I have reviewed Mr. Fongemie’s criminal history, and he has some assaultive behavior,” Nichols said.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to apurcell@thedailymail.net, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.