High School Football Player Who Allegedly Sodomized Teammate With Wire Hanger Avoids Prison
A High School football player, who had previously been accused of kicking a wire hanger in the the rectum of his mentally disabled teammate, will avoid serving time in prison.
Pleading guilty to a lesser felony, 19-year-old John R.K. Howard is expected to serve two to three years of probation, and an estimated 300 hours of community service.
via The Root:
John R.K. Howard, 19, originally of Keller, Texas, pleaded guilty Friday in a Twin Falls, Idaho, courtroom to injury to a child. According to the news site, Howard will likely be sentenced to two to three years of probation, which he may be able to complete in Texas. Prosecutors will reportedly recommend that Howard serve 300 hours of community service.
Still, the 19-year-old will completely avoid prison or jail time for his part in the brutal October 2015 attack of a black, mentally disabled teammate after a football practice at Dietrich High School. According to the Times-News, he may even ultimately be able to have his conviction dismissed if he completes his probation without any issues and without committing any more crimes.
According to the Times-News, as part of the deal, Howard submitted an Alford plea, which allowed him to maintain his innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors would have most likely won a conviction if the case had gone to trial. A judge will only order prison time if Howard violates his probation. The maximum punishment that could be meted out in such a case would be 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
Deputy Attorney General Casey Hemmer acknowledged during the hearing that Howard’s actions were “egregious” and caused the victim “a lot of suffering,” but then went on to say that it was not a sex crime and that that was why the attorney general’s office reduced charges.
“We don’t believe it’s appropriate for Mr. Howard to suffer the consequences of a sex offender,” Hemmer said. “But he still needs to be held accountable.”
Hemmer agreed with Howard’s attorneys’ claim that the “victim was not at any time pinned down, raped, or pinned down and subjected to any sort of forcible penetration,” citing evidence.
When asked by the judge whether prosecutors intended to argue that the attack was racially motivated, Hemmer said no.
“Your honor, based on what we’ve had, no,” he said. “I will say that there are things that we found going around that school and that locker room involving a lot of the parties here that had racial undertones. But it’s not our belief that this was a racially motivated crime. This was more of a vulnerable-victim-motivated crime. I think it probably would have happened to anybody that was in the same kind of circumstances and mental state as the victim here.”
H/T: Love B. Scott