Nick Carnevale put in the work.
“I’m amazed, everyday, that he has stayed so positive throughout this whole process,” said his father, Marc Carnevale, on Tuesday. “He’s an inspiration for me, and has been an inspiration to a lot of people.”
Now 22, Nick continues to deal with the ramifications from the night he was shot twice in the head more than three years ago.
But as the family starts to see more clarity in Nick’s condition, the fate of his alleged assaulters remains murky.
Four men have been charged in connection with the shooting at a party in the October Mountain State Forest in Washington summer 2018, and prosecutors allege that the assault was a joint venture between them.
Two of them, Kevin Nieves and Daquan Douglas, had been scheduled to go to trial on several charges that included armed assault with intent to murder, but at the request of their defense lawyers over concerns about the credibility of a prosecution witness, a judge pushed their trial back to March.
It will be the second time the pair of defendants will go to trial for allegedly shooting his son. The first proceeding ended in a mistrial in March 2020, due to the statewide COVID-19 shutdown of courthouses.
Marc said his family had been prepared to “to go through it all again” starting this past Monday, but that didn’t happen.
“We all just want it to be in the past; we want to move forward,” he said.
“We wished that the trial started, and would be over, and then we would have one more.”
The trial of the remaining two defendants, Luis Delvalle-Rodriguez and Christopher Frazier, has been scheduled for May 2022.
Finding a new normal
Use of Nick’s right hand is limited — he can grip, but extending his fingers can be an issue. But that doesn’t stop Nick from offering a handshake, or cooking meals for his family. Cuisine is his thing, according to family.
With use of a cutting board that holds onto his ingredients and a set of adaptive knives, Nick also whips up what he calls the “the best fried chicken on the planet,” a gustatory assessment his dad supports.
Today, Nick is enjoying spending time with his family, hanging out with his niece and nephew. He goes to sporting events, concerts, and plays video games with his brother.
Basically, Nick “likes to be on the go,” his father said.
After being shot — with one bullet piercing his left eye socket, and another striking his lower right jaw — the then-19-year-old underwent four major surgeries, as well as two aneurysm procedures.
What followed was his ensuring recovery, including physical therapy, and gym sessions where he followed a specialized circuit. Then the pandemic hit, which meant Nick had to be even more cautious. This prompted him toward self-directed physical activity, something Marc said will be a life-long pursuit.
“He wants his independence back, and slowly but surely, he’s getting it,” said Marc. “He’ll find a way to try to accomplish the task, and most of the time, he does.”
Nick has fulfilled his goal of increasing the fluency of his speech, said Marc, save for certain times when he’ll know the word he wants to say, but struggles to speak it out. Nick’s mother, Cara, has said the part of his brain that rules word recollection and processing was damaged.
But while the independence for Nick Carnevale continues to come back, a lingering feeling remains as the trials drag on.
“We just want this to be behind us,” Marc added.
But, Marc said of his son, “with what he’s been through, everything else is easy.”