Decorated combat vet, a state senate candidate, brutally beaten at event

Richard Ojeda (US ARMY)

Two days before the West Virginia primary election, Richard Ojeda, a decorated combat veteran and candidate, was brutally beaten at a cookout.

Richard Ojeda, 45, is a retired field grade Army engineer officer competing in the West Virginia state Senate Democrat primary election.

During an interview with NBC, he said he had been at a barbecue sixty miles southwest of Charleston when Jonathan Stuart Porter, 41, asked him for a bumper sticker.

The last thing Ojeda remembers of the barbecue on Sunday afternoon was Porter asking him for another bumper sticker after he had placed one on the bumper of his truck.

“When I woke up, my head was on a tree stump covered in blood. Everyone was looking at me,” said Ojeda.

Ojeda was told by witnesses that he was kicked and punched with brass knuckles.

After the beating, a neighbor attempted to stop Porter from fleeing the scene by blocking his truck with an ATV.  Porter allegedly rammed the ATV multiple times before running it over with his truck.

Porter is being held on suspicion of malicious assault, malicious attempted assault and felony destruction of property.

State Trooper Zachary Holden told NBC News the motive for the crime was not known at this time.  Porter refused to talk to authorities after peacefully turning himself in.  The only comment he made was denying the use of brass knuckles in the attack.

Ojeda believes the attack was premeditated and had to do with politics.

“I’m challenging the powers that be,” he said. “The moment you start asking questions, you become public enemy number one.”

State Sen. Art Kirkendoll, Ojeda’s primary opponent condemned the violence in a public statement.

“I was informed that my opponent was physically assaulted and injured at a political function today,” he said.

“I do not now, nor have I ever, condoned violence. It has no place in our political campaigns or in our communities.”

According to Ojeda, he suffered eight bone fractures and three lacerations to his face, as well as exterior swelling to his head.

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