In a recent case that has garnered national attention, a retired law enforcement officer has been sentenced to 46 months in prison for assault resulting in serious bodily injury on a cruise ship. John McAvay, aged 78, was found guilty of the assault after a non-jury trial and sentenced by United States District Judge Jill A. Otake. The incident, which occurred on October 23, 2018, involved an unprovoked assault on an elderly passenger that resulted in life-threatening injuries. McAvay then fled the scene without rendering aid or reporting the incident. The victim was airlifted to a medical center and hospitalized for over a month, later suffering from severe cognitive and physical impairments until his death. The sentencing judge described McAvay’s actions as cowardly and reprehensible, highlighting the seriousness of the crime. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Coast Guard Investigative Service conducted the investigation that led to McAvay’s prosecution.
Retired Law Enforcement Officer Receives 46 Months In Prison for Cruise Ship Assault
In a sentencing that has attracted significant attention, retired law enforcement officer John McAvay has been sentenced to 46 months in prison for an assault that occurred on a cruise ship. The incident took place on October 23, 2018, and resulted in serious bodily injury to an elderly passenger. McAvay, who committed the assault unprovoked, was found guilty after a non-jury trial in May 2022.
United States District Judge Jill A. Otake presided over the sentencing, which occurred on September 26, 2022. In addition to the prison term, McAvay has also been sentenced to one year of supervised release. The sentencing reflects the seriousness of the offense and the harm caused to the victim.
The assault committed by McAvay was entirely unprovoked, taking the victim by surprise and leading to severe injuries. McAvay, who was a retired law enforcement officer at the time, exhibited behavior that was not in line with the values and conduct expected of someone with his background. The attack method employed by McAvay involved a forceful punch to the head, demonstrating a deliberate act of aggression towards the victim.
Victim’s Injuries and Outcome
The assault resulted in life-threatening injuries for the victim, who was an elderly passenger on the cruise ship. Due to the severity of the injuries, the victim had to be airlifted from the ship to a medical center. He remained hospitalized for approximately one month, during which time he was transferred between different medical facilities for specialized care. The injuries sustained in the assault had long-lasting effects, including cognitive and physical impairments such as confusion, memory loss, and immobility. Tragically, the victim passed away on February 6, 2019, as a direct result of the injuries sustained in the assault.
Arrest and Investigation
McAvay was apprehended on October 28, 2018, following his identification by another passenger on the cruise ship. The investigation into the assault was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Coast Guard Investigative Service. These agencies worked diligently to gather evidence and build a case against McAvay, ultimately leading to his arrest and prosecution.
During the sentencing, Judge Otake expressed her unequivocal condemnation of McAvay’s actions. She highlighted the unprovoked nature of the assault and criticized McAvay’s decision to escalate the situation instead of deescalating or walking away. Judge Otake described the assault as an act of anger, stating that the victim posed no threat to McAvay. She also characterized McAvay’s behavior as cowardly, reprehensible, and despicable.
In addition to the assault charge, McAvay also faced a charge of involuntary manslaughter. However, the court found him not guilty of this count due to the inability to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim’s pre-existing cancer alone would not have caused his death.
The investigation into the assault on the cruise ship was carried out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Coast Guard Investigative Service. These agencies worked collaboratively to gather evidence, conduct interviews, and build a strong case against McAvay. Their efforts were instrumental in bringing the perpetrator to justice.
The prosecution of John McAvay was led by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sara D. Ayabe and Chris A. Thomas. These experienced prosecutors presented the case against McAvay in court, presenting evidence and arguing for a conviction. Their dedication to seeking justice for the victim and holding McAvay accountable for his actions has resulted in a significant prison term for the retired law enforcement officer.
For more information about this case or to report any related concerns or information, please contact Elliot Enoki at Elliot.Enoki@usdoj.gov. This contact person at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Hawaii, can provide any updated information or answer any inquiries regarding the case.
In conclusion, the sentencing of John McAvay to 46 months in prison for the assault on a cruise ship highlights the severity of his actions and the harm caused to the victim. The unprovoked assault, committed by a retired law enforcement officer, resulted in life-threatening injuries and had long-lasting cognitive and physical impairments for the victim until his death. The investigation and prosecution conducted by the FBI, Coast Guard Investigative Service, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sara D. Ayabe and Chris A. Thomas have ensured that justice was served in this case.