SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash --- A 53-year-old man was beaten to death with a baseball bat after trying to break up a fight between two teenagers, his family is having a hard time dealing with another heartbreaking loss.
Two teenagers are facing second degree murder charges in this case.
Family members said Terry Toner was one big guy. He was large in stature and also had a giant personality.
“He was just a big teddy bear. He was goofy and funny. He looked intimidating to a lot of people, but was always making somebody smile,” said Toner’s cousin, Crystal Weber.
Since Weber and Toner were young, Weber said Toner looked out for her like a big brother. In fact, he was protective over just about anyone.
“He would defend anybody. Even if he didn’t know them, he would still stand up for them because that’s the kind of guy he was,” said Weber.
It explains why he felt compelled to address trouble, even if it was literally outside his front door. Early Friday morning, a loud party caused Toner to make a noise complaint with police, said court documents. Officers arrived and calmed the party down, but a few hours later the racket was back, said court documents.
Authorities believe the two arguing teenagers were arguing over a girl. Police think Toner came out of his apartment to confront them about the noise. Court records said the two suspects turned on him and began kicking him, stomping on him and hitting him with a baseball bat.
“Just the person he was, he didn’t deserve that. I don’t think anyone deserves that, but especially him,” said Weber.
Toner died from the attack. For his family, this is the second gut wrenching tragedy they have experienced.
In 2005, another family member who was only 14-years-old died in a small plane crash.
“They’re together now. They’re united and we get to see them someday soon. It’s just not our time yet,” said Weber.
Family said Toner’s lasting impact is from his oversized personality. He was the type of guy who insisted on giving you a bear hug, just to cheer you up. He was an endless good guy goofball.
“He’d probably be behind me right now, doing bunny ears. Cheering me up,” said Weber.
Both suspects made their first court appearance today. They are being held on $1 million bond.