KENNEWICK, Wash. - Sheila Barichello spent much of her week in the Benton County Justice Center for Matt Hibbard's trial. Her son, 32-year-old Ben Ensign, is brain damaged after an assault outside Jack Didley's where Hibbard dropped Ensign onto the sidewalk.
"We the jury find the defendant guilty of the crime of assault in the 3rd degree as charged," the court clerk read Thursday afternoon.
"I'm very relieved we have justice for Ben," Barichello said. She also expressed concern for the Hibbard family but said the jury's verdict has reaffirmed her belief in the justice system.
"You know, this whole thing is so tragic all the way around, just tragic. But again, justice has to be done and they need to get laws in place to prevent this from happening again," Barichello said.
"Dropping somebody in a prone position, held by two people from a distance of five feet onto a concrete sidewalk with no warning is criminally negligent," said Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller.
He said the jury's decision will go a long way in setting safety standards. By charging Hibbard with the aggravating circumstances the maximum time behind bars he'll face is five years. However, Miller said it will likely be less than that.
"In my heart and in my soul, I just believed the evidence was there. The video proved everything so we honestly felt a guilty verdict would come back," Barichello said.
Hibbard's sentencing is tentatively scheduled for February 27th.