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Teen dies after agreeing to take punch to settle dispute

Published: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 @ 11:13 AM
Updated: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 @ 11:13 AM

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

A Washington state high school student who reportedly agreed to let another teen punch him to settle a party dispute hit his head on pavement as he fell backward and later died, the Snohomish County sheriff's office said.

The teen accused of delivering the blow has been ordered held for investigation of second-degree manslaughter.

Seattle TV station KIRO reports Jarom Thomas, 18, died from blunt force injuries of the head, injuries he apparently received when he was punched by Michael Galen, 18, and fell to the pavement. Galen was booked into the Snohomish County Jail. 

According to court documents Galen and Thomas agreed to settle a dispute by letting Galen punch the other teen in the face.

The men smoked cigarettes together, and shook on the their “agreement," detectives said.  The unconscious teen was later carried into a cabin. After efforts to wake him were unsuccessful, a friend drove him to a nearby medical center, where he died. 

Galen was ordered held on $10,000 bail Monday.

The suspect’s father broke down outside the courtroom and apologized to the victim’s family.

“To the parents of the kid it happened, please, I’m so sorry he did this. Please forgive me and forgive him,” said Mike Galen’s, suspect’s father.

“Michael said to me ‘Dad he’s my friend - he got in my face and told me to hit him.’ They were all drinking and things got out of hand,” Galen said.

The incident happened after a minor car crash outside a party in Snohomish early Sunday morning.

The young men knew each other and both attended Crossroads High School in Granite Falls, court documents show. According to investigators, Galen struck the teen in the face and knocked him to the ground. A witness told investigators the teen hit his head on the concrete. Friends, including Galen, helped carry him back into the cabin where there was a party.

When they couldn’t wake him up, a friend drove him to Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett. The teen died at the hospital Sunday.

When Galen found out the other teen died, investigators say he tried to get a witness to say it was self-defense.

The witness shared that with police. Detectives say Galen confessed when he was questioned. He was arrested and booked into jail.

Galen has been getting death threats on social media, according to court documents.