GARRETT — A Garrett man who hit another man on the mistaken belief that a woman was in peril was sentenced to seven years behind bars by Judge Monte Brown during a hearing Monday in DeKalb Superior Court II.
Adam High, 24, of the 300 block of East King Street, Garrett, pleaded guilty to aggravated battery, a Level 3 felony. Brown sentenced High to nine years in prison, with seven years to serve and two years suspended. High also was placed on probation for two years.
The incident took place in September 2017 outside Martin’s Tavern, 115 S. Randolph St., Garrett. An altercation had taken place between several people in the bar, and High and a woman had been asked to leave. The victim of the battery, Chase Geist, was trying to stop the woman from re-entering the bar and getting back into a fight, when she began screaming, the court heard. High mistakenly believed the woman was in danger, and he hit Geist, leaving him with severe head injuries.
Geist has undergone extensive medical treatment since that time and has endured multiple surgeries and hospitalizations. He now takes medication for seizures, the court heard.
High’s wife and mother spoke on High’s behalf during Monday’s hearing, describing him as a good father. They said that, at the time, High believed he was doing the right thing when he thought he was coming to the woman’s assistance.
High’ attorney, Cody Williams, described High as a “person with a great heart” and as someone who has “shown remorse from day one.”
Both High and Geist admitted they had been drinking heavily prior to the altercation. Due to High’s level of intoxication, his judgment was flawed, Williams told the court.
High addressed Geist directly before being sentenced.
“I really am sorry,” High said. “I’m sorry that you have to keep reliving it. … I shouldn’t have hit you. I just want you to know I’m sorry.”
To the court, High said, “Chase didn’t deserve what happened to him. I fully accept that. I can’t believe that I ever did that to somebody. … He was doing something good and got screwed … got hurt … I did that to him.”
Brown recommended that High receive mental-health and substance-abuse counseling while he is in prison.
“You nearly killed a guy over a mistaken belief that a woman was in peril,” Brown told High. “He didn’t deserve that. It nearly cost him his life.”