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A 23-year-old Corvallis man entered a no contest plea Monday in a 2015 case of an assault in a bathroom at Linn-Benton Community College.

Benjamin Leland Bucknell, who appeared in Linn County Circuit Court wearing tan jail scrubs and restraints, entered the plea to one count of second-degree assault. He spoke only to answer routine questions from Judge DeAnn Novotny.

The judge told Bucknell she would accept the plea deal as recommended by the attorneys in the case. A sentencing hearing has been set for July 18. Bucknell’s defense attorney, Stephen Ensor, said the plea agreement calls for prison time. He did not say how much prison time or offer any other details of the plea deal.

Additional charges of attempted murder and strangulation will be dismissed in the case, Ensor said.

Authorities say Bucknell assaulted a man on Oct. 14, 2015, in a bathroom inside the Calapooia Center. According to police, the victim, Jacob Emiliano Lopez, was taken to Samaritan Albany General Hospital following the attack.

Lopez, who was 22 years old at the time, told officers a stranger had assaulted him from behind. Lopez said he was choked, thrown to the ground and lost consciousness. According to police, Lopez had redness on his neck, lacerations on his face and facial fractures. Police said Lopez was not able to identify the assailant.

After Bucknell was arrested for a May 2017 attack in Corvallis, detectives at the Corvallis Police Department contacted police in Albany about Bucknell making comments regarding an assault at Linn-Benton Community College, according to police.

Second-degree assault is a Measure 11 crime carrying a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and 10 months behind bars.

According to Oregon law, a judge has discretion to exempt a defendant convicted of second-degree assault from mandatory sentencing if the offender has no prior convictions for serious offenses, and the victim did not suffer physical injury as a result of a deadly weapon and did not suffer a significant physical injury.

Bucknell is a defendant in two pending cases in Benton County. One is for a  burglary case stemming from May 2017 in which Bucknell allegedly broke into The Retreat at Corvallis, an off-campus apartment complex for students, and damaged property.

Bucknell is also facing attempted murder and other charges for an incident later that month, when he allegedly set fire to a Corvallis house and stabbed multiple people inside. A status hearing for both of those cases is set for May 29.

Lillian Schrock covers public safety for the Gazette-Times. She may be reached at 541-758-9548 or lillian.schrock@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter at @LillieSchrock. 

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