Niles man gets 5 years in slashing

WARREN – A Niles man seemed dumbfounded when a judge asked him why he followed another man out of a bar and attacked him, using a box cutter to try to slash his throat.

”You had a confrontation inside the bar and he left. You followed him outside. Why? Why would you pursue him? The altercation was over,” Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Ronald Rice asked James Egner before sentencing him to five years in prison Thursday.

The judge heard victim Zachary Travis’ version of what happened:

”I’m lucky to be here. He tried to kill me for no reason. He chased me down and tackled me. He sliced my throat. I lost my job through this whole thing,” Travis said.

Egner apologized and said he simply wasn’t thinking properly.

Egner’s attorney, James Wise, said his client had a problem with alcohol and was seeking an alternative jail sentence that offered counseling.

Egner, 22, of North Cedar Street, pleaded guilty in April to a charge of felonious assault that was reduced from an original charge of attempted murder. He has been held in lieu of $100,000 bond.

He could have received up to 11 years behind bars on the attempted murder charge.

The judge said Egner had two previous DUI convictions.

Assistant county prosecutor Michael Burnett said Egner confronted Travis on Nov. 16 inside the Hole-in-the-Wall, a private club on East Park Avenue. Police said after Travis, 24, of Ann Street, left the bar, he was followed along a path through a field. He was tackled in a ditch and his throat was cut with the box knife, according to police reports.