August 23, 2011

USA: Boy,16, to spend 15 years in prison for clobbering 94-year old

MARIETTA, Georgia / The Marietta Daily Journal / News / August 23, 2011

Teen to serve 15 years in beating of elderly man

By Kim Isaza

A 16-year-old boy convicted in the beating and robbery of a 94-year-old World War II veteran will likely spend the next 15 years in prison for the attack.

“Paul Smallwood, at your age, couple years older, was defending this country in World War II. Your actions, quite frankly, are indicative of somebody who’s destroying this country,” Judge Stephen Schuster told James W. Glover Monday morning in sentencing him to 20 years in prison, with 15 to serve.

“There’s a stark contrast to Paul Smallwood’s life and yours, and I can’t back away from that in my sentencing,” Schuster said.

The courtroom, which was half-filled with Glover’s family, was silent after Schuster pronounced the sentence.

On Friday, after nearly two fulls days of deliberations, a jury convicted Glover of aggravated assault on a person over age 65, and robbery by force.

He was acquitted of burglary, another charge of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and armed robbery.

Prosecutor Angela Reedy had asked Schuster to sentence Glover to serve at least 15 years. He could have gotten up to 40 years, if sentenced to the maximum 20 years on each charge and ordered to serve the sentences consecutively.

But the judge did not order restitution, as Reedy requested, because “he has no ability to pay.”

The victim, Smallwood, was not in the courtroom. He now lives in a nursing home where he requires 24-hour care, according to testimony. But his niece, Louise Williams, told the court before Glover’s sentencing that this could easily have been a murder trial.

“We thought he was going to die there for awhile,” she said. “It’s taken a lot from him. It’s taken his independence. He was in the hospital for three weeks. He’s got lots of hospital and doctor bills.”

She asked that, as part of Glover’s sentence, he be ordered to spend time with older people, to see that they are still human beings.

Williams declined to speak to reporters after the sentencing.

Before sentencing, the defense called several character witnesses who described Glover as a faithful Christian and member of Gathering of Champions church in Marietta. Four employees of the youth detention center where he has been in custody since his arrest last Sept. 24 testified that he is a good, respectful young man.

Sgt. Paul Wilson, of the department of juvenile justice, said he interacts with Glover almost daily in the youth lockup and has taken to calling him “my son.”

“He could be a positive, contributing member of society based on what he’s gone through,” Wilson told the court.

Defense lawyer Romin Alavi has contended all along that Glover was not present during the attack on Smallwood. An 11-year-old boy, who prosecutors believe took part in the attack, has already served time in juvenile detention for the crime.

Tina Sparks, Glover’s mother, said it was only the word of the 11-year-old that linked her son to the crime. She also took issue with the jury’s split verdict, returned after nearly two days of deliberations.

“Three of the jury, at the end of the day, said they compromised because they didn’t want to come back for the weekend. You put my 16-year-old child’s life at stake for the rest of his life, because you didn’t want to come back for the weekend,” she said.

© 2011 Marietta Daily Journal
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