Jury recommends 10-year sentence for man who beat Deandre Harris
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — One of the men who beat 20-year-old Deandre Harris in a Charlottesville parking garage during August’s violent “Unite the Right” rally could spend 10 years in jail. Jacob Goodwin, 23, was convicted of malicious wounding for his role in the August 12 attack on Harris, WCAV reported.
The jury recommended Goodwin should serve 10 years behind bars with an option to suspend his sentence.
The jury also recommended Goodwin pay $20,000 fine and take part in community service.
He will be sentenced in August.
“We’re very appreciative of the hard work the jury put into this case, the thoughtful way in which they deliberated and returned a verdict, and also the thought that they put into the sentence,” Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney Joe Platania told WCAV.
Goodwin’s attorney argued the Arkansas man was simply trying to defend himself at day in Charlottesville.
“[Goodwin] came to exercise free speech. Mr. Harris went to abuse free speech — not to exercise it, but abuse it,” attorney Elmer Woodard said in his opening statement, the Washington Post reported.
The incident, which was captured on video and widely shared online, showed a black man (Harris) beaten by several white attackers in the parking garage.
“I got eight staples in my head, I got a cut [above my eyebrow], a busted lip, I broke my wrist, a chipped tooth,” Harris said after the attack.
Harris, 20, who had previously been charged for his role in the incident, was found not guilty of assault in a March hearing.
Three other men arrested in connection to the Harris beating have yet to go on trial.
Vonzz Long, a friend of Harris’, told CNN the two of them were part of a group of people staging counterprotests that day against neo-Nazis and white supremacists. He said they got into an argument with people from hate groups who threw things and shouted racial slurs at them, and he and Harris got separated during the ensuing chaos.
When he eventually found him, Harris was surrounded by neo-Nazis in the garage and being beaten bloody, Long said.
At the rally, which was held to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, scores of people were injured amid fistfights and screaming matches between white supremacist groups and counterprotesters. One man drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.