A Covington man is in intensive care while prosecutors decide whether his neighbor should be charged with a crime for hitting him over the head with a baseball bat.
According to court documents, the two men had an ongoing dispute that escalated last week over a stray soccer ball.
On Wednesday evening, the 13-year-old stepson of one of the men kicked his soccer ball into the yard of the other man. According to a neighbor, the soccer ball had been kicked into the man's yard before.
"There was an argument in the past from the ball being kicked through the yard and hitting a vehicle," said James Murr, 35, who lives across the street from the two men.
When it happened a second time, the man kicked the soccer ball down the road.
"The boy went back into his house, got a baseball bat and came out and started swinging it," said Sgt. Cindi West with the King County Sheriff's Office.
According to a police report, the teenager swung the bat at the neighbor's boat.
"(The neighbor) caught the bat and took it away from (the boy), pushed (the boy) to the ground and held him there while a neighbor called police," the report read.
The teenager's stepfather heard his son screaming and came outside, where he saw his neighbor standing over his stepson holding the bat.
"(The stepfather) came toward (the neighbor), taking his shirt off as he ran. (The neighbor) started backing away and swung the bat at (the boy's stepfather), striking him three times near the waist and buttocks."
According to Sgt. West, the boy's stepfather managed to get the baseball bat from his neighbor and struck him once on the top of the head.
"He was bleeding out of both ears pretty bad," said Murr, who pulled up to his house just after the attack occurred. "I knew it was from a strike to the head, I didn't know what was going on at that time. He was unresponsive."
The man was placed in a medically-induced coma and rushed to Harborview Medical Center with a fractured skull, brain bleeding and brain swelling. He remains at the hospital in serious condition.
The boy's stepfather was arrested and booked into the King County Jail for assault, but was released Monday night while prosecutors consider whether to charge him with a crime.
"I think that they need to look at all the facts and circumstances surrounding the case and then decide what the best thing to do is," Sgt. West said.