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Beating victim released from the hospital

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Willie Navy, the 53-year-old Brainerd man severely injured in an assault early Sunday in downtown Brainerd, has been allowed to go home to recover from his injuries. 

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A spokeswoman at Essentia Health’s St. Joseph’s Medical Center said Navy was discharged Wednesday afternoon. 

According to the criminal complaints filed against the two men alleged to have committed the assault, Navy suffered severe head and facial injuries, including multiple orbital fractures around his eye socket that could result in vision loss. Navy’s eye was protruded after the assault and the facial injuries are expected to require multiple surgeries to repair. 

Brainerd Police investigators had been unable to speak to Navy because of his injuries and treatment. Brainerd Police Deputy Chief Mike Bestul said investigators learned late Wednesday afternoon that Navy went home and they planned to interview him Thursday. 

Bestul said more witnesses to the assault came forward Wednesday and there was hope that with Navy’s statement authorities would have a more clear picture of what happened the night of the assault. 

The attack on Navy happened about 1:20 a.m. Sunday in front of Thrifty White Pharmacy, 800 Laurel St. Navy and the two men suspected in his assault, Lucas Eastwood and Travis Campbell, had earlier been at Yesterday’s Gone, a bar near the crime scene. 

According to the criminal complaint, while in the bar Eastwood had wanted to fight Navy because Navy was black. A bar employee, however, told Eastwood not to fight in the bar. Navy was the last person to leave the bar at about 1:20 a.m. and the assault was reported to police just minutes later.

Eastwood, 27, Backus, was charged Tuesday in Crow Wing County District Court with felony first-degree assault, felony kidnapping to facilitate a felony or flight, felony third-degree assault and gross misdemeanor fourth-degree assault motivated by bias. 

Campbell, 29, Pequot Lakes, was charged Tuesday with felony first-degree assault, felony third-degree assault and gross misdemeanor fourth-degree assault motivated by bias. 

Both men are being held in the Crow Wing County Jail on $100,000 bond or bail without conditions or $50,000 bond or bail with conditions.

MATT ERICKSON may be reached at matt.erickson@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5857.

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Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson joined the Brainerd Dispatch in April 2010 and works as a online reporter, content editor and staff writer. She is a world traveler, accused idealist and California native now braving the winters of Central Minnesota. She believes in the power of human resolve and hopes to be part of something that makes history by bringing an end to injustice in the world. Sarah has worked as a criminal background researcher, high school civics teacher, grant writer, and contributing writer with Causecast.org — tackling every issue from global poverty to bio-degradable bicycles. Her favorite thing about living in Minnesota is July. Sarah left the Brainerd Dispatch in April 2014.
(218) 855-5879
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