Probation for skate park attacker |

Probation for skate park attacker

Patrick Cronan, the 21-year-old who struck a Condon Park patron in the back of the head with a skateboard in 2007, was sentenced to five years probation Thursday.

Cronan struck Josh Harkins at Condon Park as Harkins was trying to break up a fight. Cronan had faced as many as four years in prison for the attack. He pleaded guilty to an assault charge in July 2007.

Assistant District Attorney Anna Ferguson said she was seeking a potential prison sentence before victim Josh Harkins approached the court and asked that Cronan not be sentenced to prison.

Harkins approached the court last month and confirmed that he had reached a civil settlement for full restitution for his injuries and medical costs. Harkins suffered damage to his brain, skull, and ear and was in a coma for more than a week after the attack.

Harkins implored the court to give Cronan a fresh start by granting him probation. Superior Court Judge Julie McManus granted such on Thursday.

In a statement, Ferguson said “this development placed the prosecution and court in a difficult position of honoring the victim’s wishes, while protecting the public and holding the defendant accountable for this crime.”

“We hope a suspended prison sentence with strict probation terms will strike an appropriate balance of competing interests.”

The same press release issued by the District Attorney also included statements from the defense attorney, Stephen Munkelt. He noted that psychological counseling and anger classes “could be of more benefit to the defendant, as well as the community, as a prison term provides no opportunity for rehabilitation.”

Ferguson said authorities can keep a closer watch on Cronan under the terms of his agreement, which include a three-year suspended prison sentence, 18 months of local jail time and a no-alcohol clause. Cronan will also be subject to psychological and anger-management classes and must stay away from Condon Park and the victim.

Ferguson said she agreed to the sentence in part because of the victim’s desire to have Cronan resume his life outside of prison and the fact that this was Cronan’s first felony conviction. Cronan is currently in jail and should be released later this year.

“Everyone is hopeful (Cronan) will get help and change,” Ferguson said.

Harkins’ attorney Craig Diamond said his client was intent on letting Cronan move on with his life.

“The Harkins family is a very kind-hearted family,” Diamond said. “They recognize the effect this has had on both families. They hope that (Cronan) has learned his lesson, and they’re ready to put this ugly chapter behind them.”

Should Cronan violate the terms of his sentence, he is subject to three years in prison.

To contact Staff Writer David Mirhadi, e-mail or call 477-4239.

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