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Man gets year in jail in Detroit mob beating

  • Article by: ED WHITE
  • Associated Press
  • July 10, 2014 - 12:25 PM

DETROIT — A judge greatly influenced by a young man's apology sentenced him to a year in jail Thursday for his part in a mob attack that left a Detroit-area motorist in a coma for days.

The prosecutor's office said it would appeal James Davis' punishment, which was below the guidelines of 19 to 38 months in prison.

Davis, 24, is one of five people to plead guilty to assault in the April 2 beating of Steve Utash in Detroit. The suburban tree trimmer was attacked after getting out of his pickup truck to help a boy who was struck while darting in front of Utash's vehicle.

Utash, 54, still is recovering from his injuries and wasn't in court.

"I'd like to apologize to Mr. Steven Utash. I'd like to apologize to Detroit. ... The city's already got a bad name," said Davis, who asked the judge for a "second chance."

"I don't want my whole life to be judged on one moment," he said.

Wayne County Judge James Callahan said the attack was "brutality. It was criminal. It could have led to the death of Mr. Utash." But he added that Davis' remarks were "well-spoken."

Davis will be able to leave jail during the day if he can find a job. And after serving his jail sentence, he will be on probation for four years.

Two Utash family members left the courtroom through a side door with assistant prosecutor Lisa Lindsay and couldn't immediately be found for comment.

It was the third sentence ordered this week in the case. Wonzey Saffold, 30, was sent to prison for at least six years and four months, mostly because of his previous criminal record. Bruce Wimbush, 18, was placed on probation for three years.

Latrez Cummings, 19, was supposed to be sentenced Thursday, but it was postponed so the judge could get more information on his education. He will return to court on July 17. A teenager whose case was handled in Juvenile Court is in custody until at least September.

© 2014 Star Tribune