The mother of Jabar Wright, a 6-year-old boy paralyzed from the neck down following a 2006 shooting in Strawberry Mansion, fumed yesterday after a judge sentenced a defendant in a related witness-intimdation case.
"This is not tough sentencing," Alicia Wright, 25, said.
Earlier, Common Pleas Judge Rayford Means sentenced Larue McDaniel, 21, to 11 1/2 to 23 months in county prison, followed by 40 years' probation.
With credit for time served, McDaniel no longer faces jail time.
The judge granted McDaniel immediate parole, and ordered that he serve his first six months of probation on house arrest.
McDaniel has been on house arrest for several months. After his guilty plea earlier this year on three counts of witness intimidation and conspiracy, the judge allowed him to be released from custody and placed on house arrest pending sentencing.
In summarizing the facts of the witness-intimidation cases, Assistant District Attorney Deborah Cooper Nixon said that on April 27, 2006, McDaniel and another man, Eddie Bivens, confronted Alicia Wright and Daniel Rembert outside the Family Court building at 18th and Vine streets, after a preliminary hearing in the shooting case was postponed.
They bumped into Wright, and McDaniel then "pointed his finger like it was a gun and said, 'We know where you live,' " Nixon said.
Wright said after the hearing that Rembert at the time was her husband.
In a third case, Nixon said that McDaniel, on a later date, had driven slowly past the house of Benjamin Wright, Alicia's father, in an "intimidating" manner.
In court yesterday, defense attorney Natasha Taylor-Smith told the judge her client has no prior convictions and has not violated his house-arrest conditions.
She has said her client has served the minimum time in jail based on the sentencing guidelines in his case.
Nixon told the judge that a pre-sentence investigator noted that McDaniel did not seem to take his case seriously. She asked the judge to sentence him to five to 10 years in prison to send a message about the crime's seriousness.
When it was his turn to address the judge yesterday, McDaniel paused, rocked his head back-and-forth, and said, "I guess I'm sorry, sir."
The judge asked: "What, you say you guess?"
McDaniel then said he was sorry for what he did.
After the judge issued his sentence, including a stay-away order from the Wright family, he ordered McDaniel to report to his courtroom Jan. 5 for a status listing.
Alicia Wright said afterward that she found McDaniel's smile in court "chilling." She said she believed the judge's not sending McDaniel to prison yesterday "is going to be detrimental to my family."
Bivens is still to face trial on his witness-intimdation charges.
Means earlier this year sentenced three men - Raheem Collins, Donte Rollins and Christopher Powell - convicted by a jury of attempted murder and related offenses in the Jan. 28, 2006, shooting at Benjamin Wright's car, to maximum terms of 62 1/2 to 125 years. *