A 21-year-old man who broke into a west Medford home and assaulted the disabled resident has been sentenced to a year and eight months in prison.
Michael Brandon Mak's violent tendencies caused Jackson County Circuit Judge Lorenzo Mejia to question whether the punishment he imposed Thursday was appropriate. Mak pleaded no contest to a burglary charge.
"I just see a lot of brutality in you," said Mejia. "I just cannot understand why you did not run from that apartment. ... Instead you engaged in an altercation."
Since Mak's Aug. 28 attack on Robert Thomas, who lives in the 500 block of South Grape Street, Thomas has had to sleep with his 11-year-old son, who witnessed the crime, said Deputy District Attorney Alisa Ray. Thomas' disabilities prevented him from attending Thursday's hearing, she said.
Thomas, 51, was recovering from back surgery and watching television at about 11 p.m. when he saw a shadowy figure in his kitchen. Initially believing the person was his son, Thomas was so startled by Mak's presence in the kitchen that he told police he grabbed the closest item at hand — a bicycle — and threw it at the intruder.
Although police initially said Mak tried to flee, Ray told the court that he refused to leave the home. As the two men struggled, trading blows, Thomas' son, Jacoby, called 911, said Ray. A window broke, and broken glass rained down on the floor, cutting Thomas' bare feet.
After Mak left Thomas' home, police tracked down a suspect matching his description walking through an alley about a block away. Mak ran from police, hid in some nearby bushes and spit in officers' faces when they apprehended him. Listing an address in the 2300 block of East Barnett Road, Medford, Mak has remained in the Jackson County Jail.
Thomas told prosecutors that he wanted Mak to go to prison and enter drug-treatment programs there, said Ray. Mak's defense attorney told the court that he was intoxicated at the time of the burglary when police said he removed a screen from a window in Thomas' apartment and crawled into the laundry room. Mak told Mejia that he had nothing to say about the burglary.
"Mr. Mak, you need to turn this around," said Mejia. "You need to come out of prison a better person than you went in.
"You better not come out worse because we'll just see you again."
In the same hearing, Mejia called Mak's treatment of his pit bull, Nemo, "shocking" and "appalling." Mak pleaded no contest Thursday to a felony animal abuse charge for beating the dog six to seven times with a stick and confining it to a closet when it "misbehaved." Police found bloody blankets in the closet after entering Mak's home in June to investigate reports of an animal being tortured. Suffering a fractured skull, as well as puncture wounds and cuts, Nemo is being rehabilitated, said Ray.
Mejia ordered Mak to forfeit any ownership rights to Nemo and imposed a 15-year prohibition on possessing animals. Court orders also have forbidden Mak's contact with his girlfriend, whom he kicked and hit following a May argument. She suffered a split lip, which did not require medical care. Mak pleaded no contest Thursday to themisdemeanor assault charge.
Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 541-776-4487, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.