FARMINGTON — The Franklin County District Attorney’s Office reduced assault charges on Friday against two Kingfield men who allegedly participated in a beating of another Kingfield man.

Eric Eaton, left, and Matthew Ross Franklin County Detention Center

Eric W. Eaton, 22, and Matthew T. Ross, 20, are now charged with misdemeanor assault. The charges were reduced from felony aggravated assault, which carried a maximum of 10 years in prison. The lesser charge is punishable by up to 364 days in jail.

Franklin Deputy Andrew Morgan responded early Wednesday to 13 Trestle Ave. in Kingfield to a report of an assault and talked with Curtis Weese, 36, who was inside a NorthStar EMS ambulance. Weese had refused medical treatment, according to Morgan’s affidavit.

Morgan observed an injury to Weese’s right eye, which appeared bruised and swollen. He was also bleeding from the nose. Weese told Morgan later that he went to the emergency room and his right eye socket was broken in two places and his nose was broken.

Weese told Morgan he was woken up by a group of three men he did not know who were riding snowmobiles and a riding mower in a field behind his house. Weese put his 1-year-old child in his vehicle and drove to the end of West Branch Road and then walked into the field to speak with the men, according to the affidavit.

Weese said the three men seemed to be intoxicated and were very confrontational and yelling at him.

Weese told police he started talking to the men about riding around on snowmobiles being loud and intoxicated. One of the men, later identified as Ross, started coming toward him aggressively and attacked him, and Weese started to defend himself. Then another man, identified later as Eaton, came up behind Weese and put his arm around his neck to strangle him, according to the affidavit. While Eaton had his arm around Weese, Ross was punching Weese repeatedly in the face, Weese said.

He told police three men were in the field, but only two of them assaulted him.

The riders left the area heading toward the West Kingfield Road area and, moments later, the snowmobiles continued to be loud and fast.

After talking with Weese, Morgan went to a residence at 48 West Kingfield Road where Eaton and Ross live and saw an older-style motorcycle and a lawn mower in the yard.

Ross’ girlfriend woke Ross up to speak to the deputy. Ross told Morgan he and two friends were riding out in the field on snowmobiles and a riding mower when a man approached them and started yelling at them and they left. Morgan asked Ross how Weese got injured. Ross said Weese had followed them home, confronted them in the driveway and continued to yell at them.

Ross said he placed his hand on Weese’s chest and Weese then grabbed Ross’s thumb and twisted his arm and punched him in the head, according to the affidavit. Then Eaton put his arm around Weese’s neck, Ross told Morgan, but denied Weese became unconscious or that he kicked Weese with his steel-toed boots.

Ross — who suffered an injury to his right thumb — said Weese eventually got back in his car and left, and Ross went inside the house and didn’t know anything else. Eaton and the other rider, Zakary Christopher, also left, and Ross suggested Weese could have fallen on ice, explaining his injuries.

During the conversation between Morgan and Ross, Morgan noted that Ross was getting angry and hostile as the deputy asked more questions about the injuries Weese sustained, and Morgan could smell alcohol on Ross’s breath.

Morgan then interviewed Christopher at a home in Freeman Township.

Christopher told  him that after the initial confrontation with Weese in the field, the three riders went back to the West Kingfield Road residence. Weese drove to that house and continued to yell at them and then, when Weese and Ross were yelling at each other, Eaton walked over to get between them. It was at this point Eaton put his hand on Weese, according to the affidavit.

Christopher said Weese grabbed Eaton and the three of them — Weese, Ross and Eaton — started fighting, Morgan wrote. Christopher was not involved in the altercation and only witnessed it.

Morgan then went back to Weese’s home where he asked Weese to tell him his story again from beginning to end.

Weese told Morgan the man identified as Ross came toward him aggressively and put his hand on his chest. Weese grabbed Ross’s hand and pushed him away. It was at this point Eaton came up from behind Weese and put his arm around his neck, according to the affidavit. Weese told Morgan he was strangled and went unconscious and, when he woke up, Ross and Eaton were punching and kicking him.

Morgan then went to a Carrabassett Valley restaurant to speak with Eaton. Eaton told Morgan about Weese coming into the field to yell at them. Then Weese came to his house and continued to yell and threaten him. Ross and Weese got into a physical altercation, and Eaton said he was trying to keep them separated but Weese had fallen down on top of him.

Eaton denied putting his arm around Weese’s neck and also denied he and Ross punched and kicked him when he was unconscious.

Eaton, who did not have any injuries from the incident, was taken to Franklin County jail in Farmington.

Morgan went back to speak to Ross, but learned he was also at the jail.


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