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Ridge attacker faces 10 years after ‘no contest’ plea

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The man accused in the brutal beating and stabbing of Austin Ridge in April 2012, pleaded “no contest” Friday to charges of attempted murder and faces 10 years in prison.

A “no contest” plea is the equivalent of a “guilty” plea.

In addition to the attempted murder charge, Logan Dunning, 23, of Boyes Hot Springs, was also charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and mayhem. In a separate case, he was charged with six counts of arson in connection with a string of car fires in Santa Rosa. The assault with a deadly weapon charges and the mayhem charge will be dropped as part of the plea bargain.

At the time of the brutal assault, Dunning was on probation for convictions on obstruction, burglary, possessing a deadly weapon and battery.

Dunning’s trial was scheduled to begin Monday.

The 28-year-old Ridge, who had become disabled in a car accident years ago, was found laying on the ground April 25, 2012, in Boyes Hot Springs with a broken jaw, a fractured nose, head injuries and stab wounds to his arm and torso. He’d been attacked while riding his tricycle home from a Sonoma Valley pub after midnight. Dunning was connected to the assault when a knife with Ridge’s DNA was found in Dunning’s home during the investigation into area car burglaries and an arson.

Dunning faced a potential sentence of 13 years if convicted as charged. Dunning also pleaded no contest to arson of property, a vehicle, in an additional case, and agreed to serve a three-year prison term, concurrent to his term in the attempted murder case.

District Attorney Jill Ravitch said, “We’re pleased with this outcome, which reflects the brutality of Dunning’s assault on Mr. Ridge and assures a lengthy and appropriate prison term.   In consultation with the victim and his family, we entered into the plea agreement to achieve justice while avoiding the uncertainties and emotional toll of trial.”

The sentencing hearing will take place on Nov. 14, in Department 1.