Judge Refuses To Reconsider Mob Beating Sentences Prosecutors Say Are Too Light
DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A judge has refused to increase the sentences for two men who participated in a mob attack on a Detroit-area motorist in April.
Steven Utash, 54, was severely beaten when he got out of his pickup truck to help a young boy who had darted in front of the vehicle, according to police. Witnesses said Utash was punched and kicked in the head by a crowd of up to 12 people, including some teenagers.
Five people pleaded guilty to assault; and attempted murder charges were dropped.
James Davis, 35, must serve a year in jail, although he can be released during the day for a job. Co-defendant Latrez Cummings, 19, is serving six months in jail.
Prosecutors said the punishments are too light and don’t reflect the severity of the beating; but Judge James Callahan disagreed.
Utash, a tree trimmer from Macomb County, was “nearly unrecognizable” and in a coma for days after being beaten in Detroit in April. He’s still recovering. The boy he struck with his truck was treated for a broken leg.
The three others charged in the case were 30-year-old Wonzey Saffold, who was sentenced to more than six years in prison; 18-year-old Bruce Wimbush who was placed on probation; and a 17-year-old, charged as a juvenile, who will spend 90 days in a juvenile detention center.
It was alleged by some that the attack was racially charged as Utash is white and the mob was described as all black. An ethnic intimidation charge against the 17-year-old was dropped as part of a plea deal.
Saffold got the harshest sentence because of his criminal record.
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