Nightclub manager sentenced
A nightclub manager found guilty of assaulting a Richland man last year is sentenced to a year in jail today, but he will spend most of that time on work release.
Members of Matthew Hibbard's family and Ben Ensign's family say the whole incident is a tragedy.
Ensign suffered serious brain damage as a result of the assault.
Today, Ensign's mom told us regardless of the sentence, she doesn't feel like justice can ever be fully served in this case.
"Our son is gone and he will never be the same. We're mourning a great loss, and that mourning continues" said Sheila Barichello, Ben Ensign's mom.
After eight months of pain for Sheila Barichello, including several court hearings and a criminal trial, Matthew Hibbard is sentenced today for throwing her son, Ben Ensign to the ground outside the Jack Didley's nightclub on July 4, 2012.
"We can't bring him back. The damage is so extensive and he may not survive. He may not survive these injuries" said Barichello.
In January, a jury found Hibbard guilty of third degree aggravated assault.
This morning, he was sentenced to a year in jail.
But he'll spend 345 of those days on work release, meaning he'll be allowed to leave jail to go to work.
During a sentencing hearing today, members of the victim's family spoke in court about the pain the assault has caused them.
"Benjamin now has gone under the same physical stress that my friends in Vietnam went under. And he'll never be the Benjamin I knew" said Richard Hartley, Ben Ensign's grandfather.
Hibbard's family and friends also spoke to defend him, including a Pasco police officer who said Hibbard is a good man.
Hibbard's wife Jennifer Hibbard, told the court the incident has turned their lives upside down.
"I don't see how sending him away is going to correct anything that happened that night. It was an accident" said Jennifer Hibbard.
Then, Matthew Hibbard spoke to the judge, apologizing for the incident.
"I regret from the very bottom of my soul every link in the chain of events that took place that night, that led us to where we are right now" said Hibbard.
Ensign's mom says the family will now try to move forward, supporting Ben and hoping for the best.
"It's very difficult. But it's a start. This is yet one more element of closure for our family" said Barichello.
Ben Ensign's family says his recovery has been very difficult, and they must care for him around the clock.
His father says Ben has had seizures, some lasting up to six and a half minutes.
However, he hasn't had a seizure in more than a month.
Ben's father tells us he is disappointed in the sentence.
Barichello says her battle is far from over.
She's planning to fight for new laws preventing these types of incidents from happening, so what happened to Ben doesn't happen to anyone else.