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Video: Mayhem Festival clips capture events before assault

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Eric Swanson.
This week's cover story, "Sucker Punch", explores the legal aftermath of an assault on a fan at the 2010 Mayhem Festival -- an incident that left a somewhat fragmentary record behind, thanks to concertgoers' penchant for uploading videos of Mayhem moshes and crowd rowdiness to YouTube. The clips don't capture the actual attack, but they do provide a front-row seat for events leading up to it -- what might be described as the opening act.

As recounted in our feature, James Christensen ended up with a broken nose and other injuries after being jumped by two men. But his assailants face radically different consequences from Arapahoe County's whimsical justice system.

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Jeramie Gerhardt, whom Christensen identified as the "instigator" of the assault, pleaded to a reduced charge of felony menacing last month and is expected to serve ninety days in jail and four years on probation. (His sentencing is scheduled for June 14.) But his co-defendant, Eric Swanson, convicted of second-degree assault at trial, is facing up to 64 years in prison as a habitual criminal because of prior felonies -- all of them nonviolent, drug-related cases that occurred ten years ago or more.

Swanson can't be seen in either of the videos below and claims that he got mixed up in the action at its final stage. But two of the friends who went with him to the concert, Gerhardt and Chad Buckner, are on prominent display. In the first clip below, that's Gerhardt making an appearance at about the 1:20 mark, making an obscene gesture at the camera. Twenty seconds later, that's Buckner in the plaid shorts shoving another patron and stripping off his shirt. Over the next minute or so, Buckner charges in on some other guys, downs one in a black shirt, gets pulled off him, then seeks out his sparring partner and embraces him.

Page down to see another video and a still image featuring Christensen and Gerhardt.



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