Man gets one year in prison for hammer beating

A bizarre Felony Assault and Robbery case from early 2011 has reached a surprising conclusion.

During hearings late Thursday afternoon, a 23-year-old Fairbanks man, who police say used a hammer to repeatedly beat a cab driver in the face, struck a plea deal with prosecutors on significantly reduced charges.

The the bizarre two-year-old case wrapped up late Thursday afternoon in Fairbanks Superior Court with the defendant with what many would consider a sweetheart deal and the victim saying he just wants to move on.

Robert Charles Evans had been charged with First-Degree Assault and First-Degree Robbery. During a scheduled hearing late Thursday afternoon, Evans instead pled guilty to a single charge of Misdemeanor Assault in the Fourth Degree.

Evans had faced a possible 20-year prison term on the initial charges. As part of the plea deal, Evans will serve one year in prison.

Police say that in January, 2011, Evans, while sitting in the front seat of a taxi, asked for a ride to the McGrath Road area and later propositioned the driver, identified as John Michael Stevens, for sex. Court documents say that shortly thereafter, Evans assaulted Stevens, threatened to kill him if he screamed, and then is said to have asked for Stevens' wallet.

At the time Stevens told police there was only $29 in the wallet, and Evans became upset at how little money was there. Police say Evans again threatened to kill Stevens if Stevens did not give him more money. He also tried to get Stevens to break into neighboring apartments to get more cash, according to charging documents.

Given time to speak, Stevens says despite the plea deal, he just wants to get on with his life.

"While I strongly support the sentencing… I need to be at peace with my maker as well, and so I'd just like to say that I have forgiveness in my heart."

Evans, who remained silent when given time to speak in front of Judge Paul Lyle, must turn himself into the custody of corrections officials on Monday.