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La Verkin man faces possible murder charge after assault victim dies

Published: Monday, Oct. 14 2013 10:30 p.m. MDT

LA VERKIN, Washington County — A man who was badly beaten in southern Utah last week has died of his injuries, and his accused attacker faces a potential murder charge, police said.

Donald Loomer suffered massive head trauma Oct. 8 when he was hit in the back of the head with a tree branch the size of a 2-by-4 during a fight, according to court documents.

Loomer was transported by medical helicopter to a Las Vegas hospital, where doctors informed police he was "beyond hope, with death imminent," court documents state. Loomer died Sunday, an administrator at University Medical Center confirmed.

John Stucki, 54, reportedly called police Oct. 8 to report he had been attacked by gang members from Iron County. When officers arrived, they found Loomer bloody, beaten and barely breathing near the home, court documents state. He was intoxicated at the time, and his face was swollen with minor cuts on his forehead, police said.

Stucki told police he didn't know "how that old guy got in my driveway." Investigators determined Loomer had fought with Stucki and hit him in the left side of his face with a coffee mug before Stucki retaliated with the tree branch, according to court documents.

After being cleared medically at Dixie Regional Medical Center, Stucki later admitted to the fight, saying he used karate and picked up the stick to "tap" Loomer on the head, court documents state. He thought they were only playing, he said.

Stucki then said he couldn't remember much because of his level of intoxication.

Stucki had originally been charged with murder, but the charge was amended to aggravated assault, a second-degree felony. Upon Loomer's death, charges against Stucki will be amended back to homicide, charges state.

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero

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