By Alana Bleimann
SACRAMENTO – Three witnesses here in Sacramento County Superior Court were called to the stand—not in person, but remotely as is common in these COVID-19 days—to recount the events of the evening of July 2, 2019.
The first witness called identified himself as the victim of a serious, injury-inflicting, late-night assault, and he related a compelling story.
The court was told that four years prior to the evening of the attack, the alleged victim had been living with the consequences of a fatal car accident in which his passenger—and girlfriend at the time—died.
The departed’s ex-boyfriend, Dale Leaper, seeking revenge and closure for the loss of his lover, threatened the alleged victim of the July 2 assault last year by continuously obtaining his whereabouts and trying to “knock down” his apartment door.
The police were called on several occasions, but this did not stop the grieving lover.
On the evening of the attack, the victim stepped outside his mother’s apartment building in order to assist his new girlfriend out of a friends’ car. The victim’s girlfriend had just left the hospital with a broken ankle and needed assistance walking with her crutches.
Leaper and two other men, including Douglas Hamm and an unidentified suspect, followed the girlfriend home to the victim’s residence in a black Chevy HHR, according to court testimony.
As the victim aided his girlfriend exiting a white vehicle, owned and driven by a friend, the three men approached the apartment complex parking lot clenching “metal objects” such “a pipe” and “brass knuckles.”
The victim was focused on defendant Leaper because he recognized him as his ex-girlfriend’s previous lover and the man that continued to threaten him everywhere he went. Quickly, the victim threw his hands up in self-defense, ready to fight back. Before he knew it, the two other men with Leaper struck the victim on his head from behind.
It is suspected that Douglas Hamm, an acquaintance of Leaper’s, was the one who struck the blow that sent the victim to the ground, but this was never confirmed.
The victim lay unconscious on the ground, seeing only an occasional streak of light every time he was kicked by the assaulters. By the time he was able to stand up again, all three of the attackers had fled the scene.
Knowing the apartment complex like the back of his hand, the victim felt his way through the halls and upstairs to his mother’s apartment. His nephew ran outside the hallway in time to see his uncle’s head “dripping blood everywhere.”
While at the hospital, the victim suffered from a brain concussion, a hematoma on the brain, as well as other bleeding. He had many abrasions on the face, back, and shoulder areas.
Before the preliminary hearing, and while at home recovering, the victim received many threats from defendant Leaper, stating that the victim should not show up to court, or else the situation would be “handled in his own way.”
Scared for the safety of himself and his family, the victim stayed quiet for a few weeks until he realized that it would be better to share his story in court.
Eager to identify the two other assailants abetting Leaper, the victim went to Facebook to search the name Douglas Hamm because he was tipped that Hamm was a part of the attack on the night of July 2, 2019.
He said only a few messages were sent to Hamm through Facebook, asking him why he would get himself involved in such a personal matter between the victim and Leaper, but Hamm never responded, almost proving to the victim that he had found the person who struck the hard blow to the back of his head.
Judge Shelleyanne W.L. Chang found sufficient cause and evidence that both Dale Leaper and Douglas Hamm are guilty of all assault with a deadly weapon and battery charges. They will stand trial, set for late September.
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