Last defendant in racial beating sentenced
The second defendant in a Feb. 6, 2011, racially-motivated attack in downtown Brainerd will serve more than five years in prison for the crime.
Travis Arnold Campbell, 30, Pequot Lakes, was sentenced Thursday in Crow Wing County District Court to five years and nine months in prison by Judge Richard Zimmerman. Zimmerman said Campbell — wearing a faded blue jail uniform with his waist and hands in shackles — will be given credit for time served and a third of his sentence will be served on supervised probation, during which he is to have no contact with the victim, Willie Navy.
Campbell previously had pleaded guilty to severely beating Willie Navy, who suffered serious head injuries in the attack. Navy attended Thursday’s sentencing and said justice has been served.
Campbell and another defendant, Lucas Eastwood, 27, Backus, were charged with felony first-degree assault, felony third-degree assault, gross misdemeanor fourth-degree assault motivated by bias after attacking Navy after the three left a bar in downtown Brainerd in the early morning hours of Feb. 6, 2011. Eastwood was sentenced in October to eight years, and seven months in prison for his part in the crime.
“You (Campbell) have a lot of time to serve and I hope you take advantage of what they (prison) can offer you,” said Zimmerman. “I expect that Navy would hope that you will be a better man coming out of prison ... I hope you realize that your stupid actions impacted Navy’s life and he didn’t even bother you and you changed his life.”
Before Zimmerman sentenced Campbell, new details of the case were presented, which resulted in Campbell pleading guilty to first-degree aggravated robbery. Campbell admitted to taking money from Navy’s pocket during the assault. Campbell also admitted that he had a folded pocket knife in his fist during the beating of Navy.
The judge asked Campbell several questions to make sure he understood the court procedures and what he was admitting to, such as he was not claiming his innocence and that he caused serious harm to Navy. Most of Campbell’s answers were either “yes sir” or “no sir.” When Zimmerman asked Campbell what he was pleading guilty to Campbell said: “I assaulted somebody and injured Willie Navy.”
Campbell answered “yes sir” when asked if he was entering his guilty plea on his own free-will, that he was thinking clearly and he was not being threatened to plead guilty.
When the judge asked Campbell if he wanted to say anything to Navy or the court, Campbell paused for a second and then said, “No sir.”
Before the sentencing, Navy gave a brief victim impact statement.
In a light tan-colored suit and black shoes, Navy addressed the court and said, “I wanted justice to be served and I wanted him to speak the truth and he told the truth ... I got some justice on the case.”
Navy, 54, who suffered numerous facial injuries in the attack, said he’s had health problems since the attack and to make matters worst his mother had passed away. Navy said he suffers from severe headaches, is dealing with depression and he still has problems with his eyes.
Navy’s injuries after the attack included fractured bones around his eye and the injuries have caused dizziness, light-headedness, double vision, scarring to his left cornea, fluid leakage, light sensitivity, headaches and the inability for both eyes to track together.
After court, Navy, who no longer wears an eye patch, said that he can see good out of one of his eyes, but the other eye is still blurry, and he continues to have a lot of fluid leakage.
According to court documents, Campbell, Eastwood and other friends were at a downtown bar on Feb. 5, 2011, and Campbell didn’t know Navy, but had contact with him in the bar. Campbell clarified that there was a verbal argument with Navy in the bar.
Outside the bar, Campbell and Eastwood followed Navy toward South Eighth and Laurel streets, with Navy and Eastwood “verbally sparring” ahead of Campbell.
Eastwood and Campbell, who drank beer and smoked synthetic marijuana that night, punched Navy. In total, Campbell admitted to punching Navy about 20 times and kicking him about five times.
Navy suffered significant injuries and spent four days at Essentia Health St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd, including time in the intensive care unit.