April 22, 2002
Four teens plead innocent to assault charges
by Jeanette Knutson
Each of the four young men accused of brutally beating Sean Machak, an Inglemoor High School senior, the night of March 30 in a downtown Kirkland park pleaded not guilty to charges of assault in the first degree. The four were charged as adults and face up to 10 years and three months if convicted.
Bail has been posted for Montgomery A. Manro of Kirkland, Michael J. Gipson of Kirkland, and James H. Conley of Kenmore, each 17, meaning none of the three remains in police custody. Adam J. Sigurdson of Kirkland, also 17, does remain in King County Jail in lieu of $150,000 bail. Charging papers indicate Sigurdson has five previous juvenile convictions. The other three teens do not appear to have any criminal history.
Machak was a vulnerable victim the night of the attack. He was using crutches and had a cast on his left foot. Apparently the four teens attacked Machak and a friend as they walked past two cars occupied by the four suspects, a press release issued by the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney said.
Machak's friend fled the attack after one of the boys threatened to shoot him with a gun.
The young men turned their attention to Machak. They are alleged to have beaten him with his crutch and a small wooden bat. They also punched and kicked him after he had fallen to the ground.
A Kirkland Police Department report indicates, "Machak suffered a seizure at the scene of the attack. His injuries included partial paralysis to the right side of the body, blunt trauma to the right side of his head and blunt trauma to his back and spinal cord."
But the young man is continually improving, said Susan Gregg-Hanson, a media representative for Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where Machak was brought after the incident. He is undergoing rigorous rehabilitation and it looks as if he will be discharged near the end of April, said Gregg-Hanson. Once released, Machak will come back to the hospital three times a week to continue rehabilitation.
"Each day he progresses and we see more and more function on his right side," said Gregg-Hanson. "First he started (rehab) in a wheelchair, then he progressed to a walker, to a cane and now he is walking on his own with no assistance.
"He is a very determined, very focused young man who has a great attitude.
"He also has a great support system - family, friends, and even people he hasn't met are calling and sending cards," said Gregg-Hanson.
There will be a pre-trial hearing for the four accused teens on May 1.