Jury: Sentence can top guidelines in assault
- Article by: Paul Levy
- Star Tribune
- June 5, 2014 - 9:16 PM
An Anoka County jury that acquitted Benjamin Adams of attempted murder charges but convicted him of kidnapping and assault on Thursday decided that aggravated circumstances allow a judge to exceed guidelines when Adams is sentenced in August.
Adams, 40, of Spring Lake Park, could be sentenced from 41 months to 40 years on the kidnapping conviction alone. Second-degree assault, the highest-level of three assault charges, carries a maximum penalty of seven years, according to Minnesota guidelines. Adams was convicted Wednesday on those counts.
By answering yes to every applicable question about the Oct. 21 incident involving a 25-year-old woman, the jury acknowledged that Adams beat his victim more than a half dozen times, demeaned her with vulgar characterizations and delayed her from seeking medical help. The jury, which watched more than three hours of surveillance video that captured the assault in Adams’ apartment bedroom, also agreed that Adams’ beatings left the woman bruised and with blood in her urine.
“The defense attorney sees [the victim] as a liar,” prosecutor Brenda Sund said Thursday. “I see [the victim] as a survivor of extreme domestic abuse.”
During the trial, the jury was told that the victim had lied to police and medical officials, telling them that Adams cut her wrist but testifying in court that she’d done so herself.
Adams listened as one of his attorneys, Brad Zunker, recalled how the victim testified that she hadn’t tried to escape from a toxic relationship and report Adams to authorities because, she told the court, “I didn’t think what he did to me was bad enough.”
“Enough is enough,” Zunker told the jury. “Remember what she told you.”
Sund asked the jury 14 questions. She told the jury that some were not applicable and deserved a “no” answer. With others, she provided them what she thought should be obvious answers.
“Did Mr. Adams treat [the victim] with cruelty?’ Sund asked. “Absolutely. When you break somebody down to the point where their only option is to consider killing themselves …”
Adams will be sentenced Aug. 6.
Paul Levy • 612-673-4419
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