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Coroner issues cause of death for teen who died after being punched in face

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EVERETT, Wash. — The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office said Tuesday that the 18-year-old high school student who fell to the ground after being punched in the face died of blunt force injuries to the head.

The deceased was identified as Jarom Thomas, 18.

One of his classmates, 18-year-old  Michael Galen, was into custody following the death on suspicion of second-degree manslaughter. But as of Tuesday afternoon, no charges had been filed against Galen. And Galen had bonded out of jail.

Data pix.

"I'm really sorry for the family, their loss, I'm really sorry. If I could do something I would, OK? Please, I'm sorry," said Galen’s father, Mike Galen.

Outside the courtroom Monday, Galen’s family expressed their concerns for the victim and his family. Mike Galen said his son told him exactly what happened.

"Michael said to me, 'Dad, he was my friend, when he got in my face, he told me to hit him because of that.’ They were all drinking and things got out of hand," said Mike Galen

Data pix.

A little after midnight Sunday, the Thomas backed his Honda into a car outside of a house party in the 900 block of SW Lake Roesiger Road near Snohomish, sheriff's deputies said.

Thomas allegedly left the party, but returned a short time later. There, he was confronted by the 18-year-old Michael Galen, who was sitting in the car that was backed into by the Honda. Galen called Thomas a liar for not immediately admitting he backed into the car, and the two began to shove each other.

At some point, documents show, Thomas and the suspect agreed to "resolve their differences," by allowing Galen to punch the victim once in the face. The two shook hands and smoked a cigarette together. Then the victim -- a willing participant, witnesses told deputies -- stood in the road and let Galen take a swing.

Thomas was hit once on the left side of the face with a closed fist. He fell back and hit his head on the ground, where he laid unconscious.

The suspect and others at the party carried Thomas into the home and tried to wake him up. He was breathing, and was making grunting noises, document show, but did not come to.

After some time, a friend transported the victim to Providence Colby Hospital in Everett. He later died.

Both Thomas and Galen are from Lake Stevens and are students at Crossroads High School in Granite Falls. The two had known each other for years.

On Monday, nearly 100 students gathered at the high school to remember Thomas.

“Crossroads is a small school where the students and staff are very close and were able to come together to support each other through the emotional upheaval," said Bridgette Perrigoue, Crossroads High School Principal.

"We are trying to encourage the students to stay focused on the incredible time we spent with Jarom and the joy that he brought to our school.  We will continue to strive toward moving into that place of peace and acceptance.”

Galen was arrested Sunday and allegedly admitted to the punching. His father said he bonded out of jail and the family has hired an attorney.

Following the death, Galen received death threats via social media, deputies said.




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  • guadalupe vario luna perez dominguez

    people always knock violence but you know that sometimes it really is a better way to solve problems better then letting it linger for a long time where many people get very hurt so this might not be as bad as it sounded

  • Tgrlily

    Kids/teenagers are all different. I think there is a lot more to the story, and for those of you putting down the suspect is wrong and immature in my opinion. From what I read it was an agreement between the two boys, it was not like he attacked the kid. People make bad choices not thinking of the consequences. I believe both kids made a bad decision. I feel and pray for both boys family and friends!

  • art schoeben

    quadalope I hope you are kidding. Violence ended in a tragedy, is not a goodthing. I hope your kids grow up a lot wiser than you are. Feel for both families!

  • Jesalyn Stockman

    The victims name was jarom thomas he was like a big brother to me and it is so sad that this has to happen and some of this isn’t even true

    • Jesalyn Stockman

      Y he murdered a person don’t you understand that he killed a man and the sto ry isn’t even true I knew the victim and he would not just let someone punch him in the face like that and half of his face is broken now thanks to your unkle.

      • Steve

        Judging by your vocabulary level you won’t understand this statement but…

        Washington State is a “fair fight” state. If two adult parties agree to fight (and the agreement is witnessed) then a fight is legally allowed to proceed. The fact that the kid got killed by a punch is purely accidental. It’s not murder. Homicide, not murder.

    • Steve

      No I’m pretty sure that’s a WA State thing. As long as the Two parties agree to fight, which they did, there is no fault. The fact that he died as a result of the injuries is interesting, but as long as there was no foul play (brass nuckles) this is an accident.

  • funny

    every few years some unlucky teens have to go through some really tragic stuff it seems every few years some ones punch killed or drunk driving or just plain being kids, im sure the young man didnt think he was going to kill his friend guys throw punches its what we do and some one almost never dies

  • Classmate

    I went to school with both of these kids, I’ve gone to school with the victim for the last 3 years, they did not know each other for “years”. Michael only has gone to our school for 1 year, and the victim has never gone to LSHS. They both have good hearts, drugs and alcohol may have been in the scenario, but that doesn’t mean that the kids were crappy kids. It broke my heart going to school today, on winter break, to go mourn over the loss of a student who was the first person to ask you how your day was, or if you looked upset, asked you what was wrong and genuinely cared. Michael was in my ART class and he had a huge heart.. it is not uncommon for fights to break out at parties. If no death was involved people wouldn’t bat an eye at what Michael did, some would even say “boys will be boys”. Michael did not mean to kill him, but he did unfortunately. I love both of the kids, it is sad that I won’t be seeing them in class or in the hallway anymore, but I know the victim is in a better place and Michael is doing what he has to do. I am happy that the victims mom gets justice, but it is also so sad that Michael must live the rest of his life knowing that he’s killed someone, when that wasn’t his intentions. P.S. The only reason the victim let him hit him in the face is because he didn’t want Michael to dislike him. And the car.. it didn’t get backed into, the victim hit a mailbox, and the mailbox hit the car, he also didn’t leave the scene.

      • classmate

        The amount of loss in our community is tremendous, I am also one of the teen parents that attends crossroads, and I couldn’t imagine if my son were either one of the kids, it breaks my heart to see all the hateful comments. But I understand people have their own opinion. School it just going to be very different without these kids, and it breaks my heart to see such a dramatic change by an action that only took a split second, I only wish the people who make hateful comments could have met both of the students and gotten to know them, and seen the type of people they were, I can imagine stamp (the nickname that we gave the victim) wanting everyone to understand that what happened was an accident. He was so loving and understanding, and I don’t believe that this is what he’d want to see. But what happens is going to happen, either way, our justice system is going to sentence Michael as they feel they need to. I am going to miss both of my friends, and the atmosphere of the school is defiantly going to be different, two families have been torn apart, and I feel as though right now is not a time for outsiders to pick apart the situation, but instead to try to gain a better understanding of how both of the families must feel due to both of the losses and the kids that were close to the kids. Thank you for your positive feedback, I wish more were understanding to the situation

  • Jim from Canada

    I keep hearing that there is something in the water in lake Stevens that causes stupidity. Now we know alcohol is part of it.


    This person who threw the party and provided the alcohol could be considered responsible as well, just another reason why alcohol should be kept out of the hands of adolescents. No one could of foreseen this tragedy, well except a sober person who would ask several questions, one is it a good idea to punched full force in the face, second should the punch knock the person out does the person have a safe place to land, (ie a mat like in boxing). Third and most importantly who failed to ask the question perhaps this person has suffered traumatic brain injuries cause there not responding normally. I really believe the delay in getting medical attention was the final contributing factor to this kids tragic death. The way I see it the victim is responsible for both hits to his head, the one from the punch and the one from the pavement. Those looking after him once down are responsible for his death, he could of had a chance if he got the medical care immediately, instead of delayed which was more likely poor judgement again from alcohol.vv

  • ted

    They used to do this on “Jackass”, all the time,… I wonder where the kids got the idea to settle their differences this way? Hmmm,…. just sayin………..

  • Michael Cole

    Theres hard feelings all around here it seems i think it was an accident and that it could have been better handled and things could have been different but they were not so nothing we can do.


      I disagree, our legal system will collect all the empirical evidence and weight it (judge) in light of what they know of how our laws are defined to protect citizens and their property and ensure justice is metered. I for one hope this is looked at as an accidental homicide with multiple parties involved, as I mention the host of the party, those responsible for alcohol for obviously minors intoxicated which contributed to the foolishness of all parties involved, the deceased who did not account for potential of further aggravation beyond enduring a blow to his face, This in contributed to lose of concenscious and fell striking his head on the pavement. Not the first or last time someone dies from an injury of stricking head on ground. And finally those who witnessed this lethal combo of strike to face and then to head and failed to notify in a timely fashion medical professionals who may of been able to prevent his death as far as brain damage on the other side of the pancake he could of wound up a vegatable as well. Needless all parties need to endure some consequences not to the level that makes criminals out of an accident that didn’t forsee in thier agreed foolishness to themselves. I think that is why trained stun man and jackass crew have professional medical staff on hand. Nonetheless I hope these folks have to tour Washington High Schools and tell their peers so they do something as as-sine as well.

  • Just Me

    When you hit someone you are taking full responsibility of your actions …. He KNEW he was intentionally inflicting bodily harm…. He committed murder…. He needs to be held accountable. I feel bad for all involved.

    • Lane

      I agree completely…but this time is difficult for the family and friends,they feel the punch was not intended to cause this serious of consequences but unfortunately he did commit murder he impacted hard enough to cause blunt force death to a human being…no way around that fact.

    • beavertonsteve

      Wow, murder? I think you are getting a little over-dramatic. Murder is the premeditated act of attempting to kill someone, not death by accident, even horribly stupid and moronic accidents with the intent to injure. As much as you’d like to send this guy away for the rest of his life chances are he’ll never spend a day in prison, especially if the victim’s family doesn’t want him to go.

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