'We didn't know from one minute to the next if he was going to live'

PUYALLUP, Wash. -- A punch to the face put a young Puyallup man in a coma, and now his family is furious that the man who attacked him is only getting a year in jail.

The incident happened 11 months ago in the parking lot of a Puyallup bar. People had gathered in the lot after closing time when something was said, a punch was thrown and a young man fell to the ground. The man hit his head, and the injury nearly killed him.

The attack left 22-year old James Foster in a coma. His parents worried they would lose him.

"We will never forget the images of his face swollen and black and blue," said Foster's step mother, Lisa Foster. "We didn't know from one minute to the next if he was going to live."

Daman Lehman admits to throwing the punch. He said Foster was annoying him and his friends and made some remark about his car's wheel rims.

Police say that's when Lehman punched Foster in the face, knocking him to the pavement and allegedly saying, "I put people to sleep. That's what I do."

In court on Friday, Lehman agreed to plead guilty to second-degree assault.

"Your honor, I stand before you. I'm sorry. I did not mean it. I pray for their family," he said. "I'm sorry, your honor. That's all I can say."

Foster eventually pulled out of his coma. Doctors say he's making a remarkable recovery, but the traumatic brain injury will have lingering effects.

His family said he was too afraid to come to court on Friday.

"We grieve the loss of our son. He is alive, but he is not the same young man that he was," Lisa Foster said.

Emotions overflowed in court, and even Judge Linda Lee appeared to be having a difficult time with the case.

"At the end of the day, I'm a human being as well," the judge said.

But she said emotions need to be set aside and agreed to sentence Lehman to 12 months in jail.

Foster's family was livid when the decision was handed down.

"James wanted at least 18 months and we thought at least 18 months," said Foster's dad, Darrell Foster.

Eighteen months would have meant prison time. With just 12 months, Lehman will stay in the jail and likely be out in eight months for good time.

Foster's family said they want to change the law to create tougher sentences for such crimes. They say Lehman will likely be out before the end of the year, while their own son will have to deal with his brain injury for the rest of his life.