Today, 20-year-old Joseph Boxell received a 7-year prison sentence following his plea to a charge of Assault by Means Likely to Produce Great Bodily Injury with a strike prior. Boxell committed the strike prior on Jan. 12, 2021 in Arcata, when he brandished a firearm at two people walking by (thereby committing another felony assault). He pled “open” to that case, meaning all sentencing options were left open to the judge, who chose to give him probation.
Boxell’s more recent assault occurred on July 4, 2022, while the victim was watching fireworks with his child in Old Town Eureka. The incident began with people verbally abusing the victim, including the use of racial slurs. Boxell then got out of his car, approached the victim from behind, and hit the victim twice in the head with a wine bottle. The victim required treatment at a hospital.
Boxell was sentenced to a total of 7 years in prison: the strike prior doubled the 3-year term for the more recent assault, and Boxell received an additional year for the probation violation. (The evidence did not support the application of hate crime statutes, in that Boxell did not personally use racial slurs and his motivation for committing the assault could not be linked beyond a reasonable doubt to bias against a particular group. [His prior assault did not involve possible hate crime issues.])
District Attorney Maggie Fleming thanked Assistant Chief Stephens and Officer Barrett of the Eureka Police Department and Deputy District Attorney Emily Norgaard for their diligent work on the case.