Detroit man sentenced to year in jail for brutal beating of motorist
(Reuters) – A man who pleaded guilty to assaulting a motorist who was severely beaten by a mob in Detroit after he struck a child accidentally was sentenced on Thursday to one year in county jail.
James Davis, 24, was sentenced in Wayne County Circuit Court to five years probation, the first to be served in county jail, in the beating of motorist Steven Utash on April 2 that drew national attention.
“Your candor this morning, your honesty this morning and your remorse kind of evidences that to me, that you are going to change your life,” Judge James Callahan said to Davis.
Davis could have been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. He could be allowed to leave the jail on an electronic tether to do work while he is serving the sentence.
In all, five people were charged with attacking Utash. All five pleaded guilty to assault charges, four in adult court and one in juvenile court.
Utash spent six weeks in the hospital after the beating. In a statement read in court on Monday during the sentencing of two other defendants, he said he has been unable to drive, work or even make decisions on his own since leaving the hospital.
The child he hit was treated for a leg injury and released the next day. Police ruled the collision an accident.
Prosecutors had charged a 16-year-old as a juvenile with ethnic intimidation in the attack. Utash is white; the defendants are black. Prosecutors said the evidence did not support such charges against the other defendants.
The ethnic intimidation charge was dropped and the teenager pleaded guilty as a juvenile to assault.
On Monday, Wonzey Saffold, 30, was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. Bruce Edward Wimbush, who was 17 at the time of the attack, was sentenced to three years probation under a juvenile training program that could result in the record of his conviction being expunged.
Callahan delayed the sentencing of the fifth defendant, Latrez Cummings, 19, by one week.
(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Jonathan Oatis)
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