BELLINGHAM - A Bellingham man was sentenced to a year and seven months in prison for a stabbing that left a homeless man with "a punctured lung, a lacerated spleen, a large artery near the stomach lacerated" and "excessive loss of blood."
Court documents say Collin Daniel Cofield, 20, went to a homeless camp just north of St. Joseph hospital to sell heroin the morning of June 30. He had used methamphetamine that day, and went into a tent where two men and a woman were staying.
According to his story, the two men lunged at him.
Cofield pulled the older man's coat over his head and started stabbing him with a fixed-blade knife. The 42-year-old man, who was unarmed, suffered a punctured lung and stab wounds to his spleen and an artery in his stomach.
The woman, whose story changed at least once during police interviews, asserted that Cofield was shouting, "Give me your (expletive) money!" as he stabbed the man. She tried to carry the victim outside, with help from the other man in the tent, but they weren't strong enough.
The man was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph. He survived, but because of his injuries he could not give a full account to police.
Officers found Cofield - a thin young man with a shaved head, blue jeans and black tennis shoes - 15 minutes later walking along the railroad tracks near Squalicum Parkway. He admitted bringing heroin to the camp and admitted to stabbing the man, but claimed he was attacked first.
Police tried to interview the other man in the tent, but "it was clear that he was developmentally delayed," wrote Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Elizabeth Gallery.
Cofield was sentenced in July after pleading guilty to second-degree assault and possession of heroin. A plea deal dropped the original charge from first-degree assault, added the drug charge and allowed the sentences to be served concurrently. The heroin charge, alone, carried a sentence of one year and six months.
The court listed Cofield's address as "transient." The defendant waived his right to attend any restitution hearings, where a judge will decide if he has to cover the victim's hospital bill.
His criminal history includes felony harassment, residential burglary, second-degree assault and a handful of misdemeanors. Some of those crimes were committed when he was younger than 18.