Skateboard assault case heads to court |

Skateboard assault case heads to court

Patrick Cronan, a Grass Valley man accused of assaulting a man with a skateboard in Condon Park last summer, will appear in court later this week for a pre-trial hearing, his attorney said Monday.

Cronan is set for a jury trial on Aug. 5. The district attorney has charged Cronan with assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious bodily injury.

“There’s no question that Mr. Cronan hit Mr. Josh Harkins (the alleged victim) with a skateboard,” said Stephen Munkelt, his defense attorney. “But the question is, was there any provocation?”

Munkelt said it remains to be seen if Cronan acted in self-defense.

“Just about anything could happen (at the readiness conference),” Munkelt said. “The case could be dismissed, there could be a plea, there could be a motion heard.”

According to the police and eyewitnesses, Cronan, who was 20 at the time of the alleged attack, struck Josh Harkins, then 25, on the head with a skateboard as Harkins allegedly tried to stop a group of young men in Condon Park from urinating on another man who was lying on the ground during a fight. Harkins suffered damage to his brain, skull and ear and was in a coma for more than a week after the June 2007 alleged attack.

Local residents raised more than $5,600 to help Harkins with medical bills, as Harkins underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture and subdural hematoma.

At a court appearance last September, Cronan said he was fearful of Josh Harkins, who had just broken up the fight involving several young men, when Cronan allegedly encountered him.

But cross-examination by Assistant District Attorney Anna Ferguson showed Harkins was never physically violent with Cronan and was facing away from him when Cronan allegedly attacked him.

Cronan is incarcerated at the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility on $75,000 bail.

He was on probation for a property crime when he allegedly assaulted Harkins.

Harkins, who was a cook at the Citizens Restaurant in June 2007, hasn’t been able to work since the alleged attack, his mother, LouAnn Harkins, said Monday.

“He still has a lot of headaches,” she said. “He’s lost his hearing in his right ear. Doctors are saying the headaches will take time to heal. They say his hearing problem will be permanent.”

LouAnn Harkins said she was “grateful (Cronan) was in jail now, as it’s given us some time to heal a little bit.”

But as a mother, she can empathize with what Cronan’s parents must be going through.

“As hard as it was for me to sit at the hospital wondering if Josh would live or die, I’m sure it must be equally hard for Patrick’s mom to sit in the courtroom and wonder what’s going to happen to him,” she said.

To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail or call 477-4229.

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