Teen victim testifies to save man who beat him into a coma from decades in prison
A Texas teenager has been sentenced to 120 days behind bars and 10 years probation for felony aggravated assault after facing as much as 20 years in prison following a 2021 beating of a former football teammate.
Cole Hagan was beaten so severely by Reid Mitchell that he ended up in a medically induced coma. Mr Mitchell pled guilty on Friday as part of a plea agreement with the prosecution, according to The Facts.
Mr Hagan was 16 at the time of the attack on 3 December 2021 in Lake Jackson in southern Texas. Court records state that Mitchell, 19, was the one who instigated the attack, helped by classmates Ayden Holland and Logan Huber.
Mr Holland and Mr Huber also face charges of felony aggravated assault. They stand accused of luring Mr Hagan out of a house in Cherrywood Court in Lake Jackson to Mitchell who was waiting outside. Their trials have been delayed until 15 May.
Mitchell’s conviction will be expunged if he steers clear of further violation while he’s on probation.
Prosecutor Chris Martin shared a written request with the court from Mr Hagan that the District Attorney’s Office and the judge accept the plea deal.
Mr Hagan appeared as a witness, saying that he understood and accepted the agreement. He left the courtroom immediately afterwards.
Judge Patrick Bulanek noted that as part of the deal, Mitchell isn’t allowed to contact Mr Hagan.
“About the only thing I’m gonna say is that the only person you should really thank is the guy that just walked out of this courtroom with I’m assuming his dad,” Judge Bulanek told Mitchell. “You can’t contact him, but you should’ve thanked him. He’s probably the only reason I’m accepting this plea. Otherwise, I would have let a jury of your peers do the deciding for me. Really, the people who are showing you mercy are probably the people who shouldn’t.”
If Mitchell completes his 10 years on probation without a violation, his record will state that he was arrested but won’t show that he was convicted of a felony, according to The Facts.
If he violates the probation, he could be sent to prison for between two and 20 years.
“It was a fair and just resolution,” Mitchell’s lawyer Paul Nugent told The Facts, adding that he was impressed by Mr Hagan and his father. He said Mithcell regrets Mr Hagan’s injuries and that both he and the Hagan family now has a chance to move on.
District Attorney Tom Selleck told the local outlet that Mitchell accepting accountability was an important part of the deal.
“They’re just kids. Sometimes kids do things that have tragic consequences and that’s what happened in this case,” he said. “Maybe it will give someone else pause to at least take a moment and think about the potential of what they’re doing and the effect it will have. There are no real winners here, but everyone will be able to move on with their life and pick up the pieces and move forward.”
Mitchell is reported to have been jealous about Mr Hagan’s relationship with his ex-girlfriend and had planned to fight him four or five days before the attack occurred, a witness statement said in the arrest affidavit.
Multiple witnesses said Mitchell was the only one who attacked Mr Hagan.
When Mr Hagan was on the ground with blood coming out of his ears, Mitchell is reported to have messaged two of his friends telling them to “come get your boy”.
Mr Hagan suffered a skull fracture, and he was hospitalised in the ICU on a ventilator and placed in a medically induced coma. He remained in the hospital for almost three weeks.
Following the ordeal, Mr Hagan was still able to play high school football during his senior year.
Mr Selleck said the DA’s office is working on similar plea agreements for Mr Huber and Mr Holland.
“If an agreement is reached, that will be good, but if not, the state is ready to go to trial,” he told The Facts.
Loren Klitsas, Mr Hagan’s lawyer, told Insider that “the family is very, very pleased with the Reid Mitchell sentence”.
“They feel like the judicial system worked,” she added.
“Cole and the family decided to show mercy toward him and give him an opportunity. He’s got 10 years now to reclaim his life and change the path that he was on,” Ms Klitsas said. “And if he doesn’t, the judge made it clear that he is going to throw the book at him, that there’s not going to be any second chances. So the Hagans were all for that.”
Mr Hagan is set to start his studies at Texas State University, she added.
“He’s made a miraculous recovery, and he’s doing well,” she told Insider. “And to be honest with you, for an 18-year-old boy, it was his decision to show mercy, and that’s what he wanted to do.”