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Bar brawl nets 5 years for Crystal Lake man

Published: Friday, May 24, 2013 5:01 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, May 24, 2013 5:11 p.m. CST

WOODSTOCK – A McHenry County judge said a victim was alive only by "the grace of God" after a bar fight with a Crystal Lake man.

Judge Sharon Prather on Friday sentenced 32-year-old Austin Hobday to five years in prison.

In February, Hobday pleaded guilty to aggravated battery, a Class 3 felony, which is typically punishable by up to five years in prison. But because Hobday's actions were considered "brutal or heinous behavior," he was eligible for an extended term.

Prosecutors asked for eight years, while Hobday's defense attorney, Jamie Wombacher asked for a year in the McHenry County Jail.

"He chose to admit his guilt, he's not here to minimize [the victim's] injuries," Wombacher said.

The victim on Friday testified that he was in critical condition with injuries that later required surgery after his altercation with Hobday. A portion of his face is paralyzed as a result, the victim said.

"At the end of the day, [I'm] just happy to be alive," he said.

The Northwest Herald typically does not identify victims of crimes.

On Oct. 16, 2011, while at Kief's Reef near McHenry, Hobday hit the victim over the head with a pint glass, which then shattered, prosecutors have said. He then used the bottom half of the broken glass to stab the 29-year-old man in the neck.

Assistant State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally said the fact that Hobday didn't kill the man "wasn't by design, but dumb luck."

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