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Attorney objects to plea agreement in Willie Navy beating case

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An attorney representing Willie Navy objected Thursday to a plea agreement for one of the suspects in Navy’s Feb. 6 beating.

The suspect, Travis Arnold Campbell, 29, Pequot Lakes, appeared in front of Judge Earl Maus in Crow Wing County District Court Thursday afternoon on charges of felony first-degree assault, felony third-degree assault, gross misdemeanor fourth-degree assault motivated by bias and felony probation violation stemming from a previous conviction. 

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Campbell and another man, Lucas Eastwood, 27, Backus, are accused of attacking Willie Navy after the three left a downtown Brainerd bar in the early morning hours of Feb. 6. Court documents allege the men beat Willie Navy, who suffered traumatic facial injuries, in part because of the color of his skin.

A plea agreement between Campbell’s public defender, Mark Mitchell, and the Crow Wing County Attorney’s office stipulated that Campbell would plead guilty to felony first-degree assault to 12 months jail and up to 20 years on supervised probation, with no credit for time already served in jail. Campbell has been in the Crow Wing County Jail since Feb. 6. 

Other conditions of his plea included a minimum fine, no contact with Willie Navy, no use or purchase of intoxicants and to remain law abiding. 

Assistant County Attorney David Hermerding represented the state Thursday, filling in fellow Assistant County Attorney Bruce Alderman. 

Willie Navy, his brother Pastor Robert Navy, and Willie Navy’s attorney, Steven Lastovich, also attended Thursday’s hearing. 

Robert Navy earlier said his brother is recovering physically though one eye is still unable to focus straight ahead. 

“He’s doing pretty good, with the grace of God,” Robert Navy said Wednesday.

Lastovich, addressing the court Thursday, told Maus that the plea agreement was not about what the state wanted but about Willie Navy. He said the court needed to be aware of the “filthy, lying statement” Campbell gave as part of the plea agreement. 

Maus responded that while he could give a statement to the court, Lastovich needed to be civil.

“We don’t have theatrics here,” Maus said. 

Lastovich called the case an offense to the entire community, to which Mitchell replied that Lastovich probably had a civil suit pending in the matter. Lastovich said he didn’t.

Hermerding asked that the matter be reset to allow Alderman to be present. Responding to a statement from Lastovich, Hermerding also said Navy had been consulted on the plea agreement. Lastovich said Navy was consulted at the last minute.

Lastovich again said Campbell hadn’t been truthful and urged Maus not to accept the plea agreement. He also presented to Maus a statement and photograph, which Maus said would be sealed until the time a plea is entered. 

“Mr. Navy just wants the right to be heard,” Lastovich said. 

“And I’m not denying him the right to be heard but it’s going to be done according to the law,” Maus replied. 

Maus reset the hearing to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday. 

Eastwood is scheduled to appear at a hearing at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, and a jury trial is set for 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

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

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889
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