Charges in violent home invasion robbery in Lynnwood

EVERETT — A Lynnwood man was the target of a violent home invasion robbery because he is disabled, prosecutors alleged in court papers filed Friday.

Now, three men are facing assault and robbery charges in connection with the March 10 attack. Prosecutors allege that the crime was even more egregious because the victim was incapable of fighting off the attack.

The man, 56, has cerebral palsy. He was hit upwards of 20 times with a hammer, stabbed and shocked with an electronic stun gun. His attackers left him bloodied and battered. His clavicle was broken and his lung was punctured.

Investigators say the alleged ringleader, Nicholas Brunson, 18, admitted that he been planning the robbery for weeks after seeing a laptop in the man’s apartment. Brunson also allegedly said he chose the man because he was “weak and feeble,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Laura Twitchell wrote in charging papers.

Brunson, Joseph Ricks and Trevor Jones are charged with first-degree assault and attempted first-degree robbery. Prosecutors have added an aggravating factor of victim vulnerability. That opens the door for more prison time if the men are convicted.

The men are suspected of pushing their way into the man’s apartment in the early morning hours. Brunson lives in the same building and his roommate allegedly told him he’d seen their neighbor with a large stack of money in his wallet.

Brunson is accused of wielding the hammer. He allegedly told police he was trying to knock the man out. He later admitted that he thought about going back to kill the man, according to detectives. Ricks and Jones, both 20, deny stabbing the man. Instead they each point the finger at the other for wounding him with a switchblade.

The trio allegedly fled, went back to Brunson’s place, changed clothes and headed to a rave, court papers said.

Police later searched Brunson’s apartment. They found a bloody shirt in the closet and drug paraphernalia. The next day a witness told police he’d seen a knife in a bowl full of bleach at Jones’ house. Jones reportedly told the witness the knife had blood on it and he needed to get rid of it. The witness told police he threw the knife in a lake, Twitchell wrote.

All three men remain locked up in the Snohomish County Jail.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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