Skip to comments.Teenagers to serve time - after football
Posted on 08/16/2006 10:04:23 AM PDT by flutters
Kenton athletes caused wreck that seriously injured 2 others; judge delays 60-day sentences
KENTON, Ohio Two teenagers who pulled a stunt last winter that left a man physically disabled and his friend brain-damaged will each spend 60 days in juvenile detention, but not before they finish the upcoming high-school football season.
Judge Gary F. McKinley told a standing-room-only crowd in his courtroom yesterday that he knows his decision to allow standout Kenton High School athletes Dailyn Campbell, 16, and Jesse Howard, 17, to play sports before serving their sentences will be unpopular.
Five deputies were on hand during the sentencing hearing in Hardin County Common Pleas Court, and McKinley told the emotional crowd that he would hold anyone who had an outburst in contempt.
"Im cutting you somewhat of a break here, and the court will get criticized for this," McKinley told Campbell.
The retired Union County juvenile court judge assigned to hear the cases said he had waffled when trying to decide whether to delay any sentence until after football season.
"I shouldnt even be doing this," he told Campbell, a junior quarterback for the Kenton Wildcats, who won state titles in 2001 and 2002.
At those words, more than a dozen relatives of the two who were injured in the prank began to sob. Campbells mother and stepfather, sitting behind the victims families, looked relieved.
Campbell and Howard each pleaded no contest last month to two charges of vehicular vandalism. They both also pleaded to juvenile-delinquency counts of petty theft and possession of criminal tools. Prosecutors say Campbell and Howard and three others who are awaiting trial stole a decoy deer last November, painted it with obscenities and then placed it in the middle of a darkened rural road to see what would happen when drivers approached.
Robert Roby Jr., who was 18 at the time, swerved to miss the deer. His car rolled and crashed as Campbell and the other boys watched.
Both victims families pleaded with the judge to make an example of Campbell and Howard.
"None of these guys will ever know what our sons have gone through," Robys mother, Mary, wrote to the court. "They dont think they did anything wrong. If they get nothing for what theyve done, theyll do something worse later. They need more than a slap on the wrist."
Roby nearly lost his right leg in the crash, and is facing his 11th surgery in the next few weeks, his mother said yesterday.
Robert Robys passenger, 17-year-old Dustin Zachariah, was on life support for several days and had broken bones, two collapsed lungs and brain damage. He now has the cognitive ability of a sixth-grader, his mother, Kathy Piper, said.
In addition to the 60-day sentence, which will begin at the Logan County Juvenile Detention Center after football season, Campbell and Howard are on house arrest and will be for six months after detention; must pay fines and restitution; must write a 500-word essay on "Why I should think before I act"; and must complete 1,500 and 500 hours of community service, respectively.
McKinley suspended two, one-year terms of commitment to the Ohio Department of Youth Services for both boys, so if they violate their probation those sentences could be invoked.
Campbell was sentenced first. The victims families left the courtroom before Howard was sentenced.
"They said they would not attend this hearing as their own way of showing protest to the previous ruling," Prosecutor Brad Bailey told McKinley. Piper had the victims advocate read a statement, saying that the judges ruling told her "that my son now is not only being pushed aside, but hes been forgotten."
During their hearings, Campbell and Howard apologized. Campbell, who had two previous juvenile court convictions, showed no emotion and looked only at the judge. During Campbells apology, McKinley admonished him for mumbling.
Howard looked into the face of the victims advocate as she read the families statements. He wiped tears from his cheeks as he said he was sorry.
"I think every day that I hurt someone, and that hurts me inside," Howard said.
If there was real justice in Ohio (or anywhere else), these two delinquents would be forced to pay for the hospitalization costs of their victims as well as the financial loss they will suffer for their probable inability to hold a job. Sixty days in jail, community service, and a few "boo hoo, I'm so sorry" statements are scant comfort to the victims, much less true justice. Allowing these punks to play football is but another slap in the face of the victims.
I heard that Ohio State immediately offered them scholarships.
2 direct hits in your post! Very pithy, too!
When I see cases like this, I am reminded of how Japanese justice is (or was). If one permanently injures another in their society, that person is responsible for the care of the person they wronged for the life of that individual. Making these two pay for the care and treatment of the injured parties would serve them a just punishment but here in the US they get away with a slap on the wrist. If the kid is that good in football, he's just about five years away from a significant cash windfall and the ones he wronged should be compensated for it.
"This may have wrecked their season if he wasn't able to play if needed."
That would have also been a good lesson. Actions have consequences that affect others. I guess maiming 2 people wasn't enough of a lesson.
He would not be welcome in that town if his actions caused others to miss out on college scholarships. A good lesson indeed.
I agree. The judge should be impeached. He was far too lenient here. The school district is sending a bad message as well.
Stupid is as Stupid does!!!
We can expect further return engagements to the courtroom for Campbell after this travesty.
Amazing that there are judicial jacka$$es cum sports fanatics outside of the American South, isn't it?
"I shouldnt even be doing this,"
Yet, he still did what he knows is wrong!
It is NOT Columbus. Kenton is an hour outside of Columbus and has is a small town.
Their "prank" was irresponsible and did pose some risk of danger to drivers, but they had no way of knowing that a driver would be driving so recklessly that they would swerve off the road and roll their car to avoid the painted decoy deer.
Their actions did contribute to the accident, and they bear some responsibility.
However, the majority of the responsibility for what happened lies with the driver.
The vast majority of outrage about this incident isn't because of the prank that they performed, but because of the severity of the accident, and if the driver was operating the vehicle safely there would not have been an accident. At worst the driver would have done some relatively minor damage to his vehicles when striking the decoy.
They are getting 60 days locked up and 500 to 1500 hours of community service. That's not exactly a slap on the wrist.
The kids need to take responsibility for what they did, but they don't deserve to have the responsibility for mistakes of the driver layered on top of them that were not reasonably foreseeable.
Deer and other animals jumping out in front of a car on a rural road is not exactly rare. In this case the fake deer was even stationary.
The foolish "pranksters" should not have done this, and may should have possibly foreseen that they were putting drivers at some risk of damaging their cars, but I can't see how an accident of this magnitude would result if the driver were driving safely and was in control of the vehicle.
The driver is paying a heavy price for his part in the accident. The passenger is paying an even higher price.
It's a very sad situation.
As for delaying the sentence. Team sports can have a positive influence on many people, and while they are busy with practice and games, they aren't out getting into trouble.
A football scholarship may also be these kid's only real hope of going to college. There's no point in ruining their futures.
I feel sorry for the parents of those who were injured. I'm sure they have been through a terrible ordeal, but the Judge's duty is to make sure that the sentencing is just, not to satisfy the anger of the driver's parents especially when a portion of that anger appears to be misplaced.
What? The University of Miami didn't offer them a scholarship first?
Indeed. If you generate revenue for an athletic program, you can get away with murder.
Now, the guys have to go out on the golf course and look for the real deer decoy placer.
Yeah, I wonder if your punishment would wait until after football season.
It was basically a prank, with tragic consequences.
If it were my relative they'd injured, you can be d*** sure he'd have held me in contempt after announcing that sentence.
This has GOT to be a hoax.
No it isn't...it's Kenton Ohio...