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Teenagers to serve time - after football
The Columbus Dispatch ^ | August 16, 2006 | Holly Zachariah

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.

"I’m 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 shouldn’t 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. Campbell’s 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," Roby’s mother, Mary, wrote to the court. "They don’t think they did anything wrong. If they get nothing for what they’ve done, they’ll 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 Roby’s 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 judge’s ruling told her "that my son now is not only being pushed aside, but he’s 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 Campbell’s 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.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; US: Ohio
KEYWORDS: activistcourts; activistjudge; footballnuts; judicialtyranny; judiciary; justice
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To: flutters

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.

21 posted on 08/16/2006 10:23:40 AM PDT by Wallace T.
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To: flutters

I heard that Ohio State immediately offered them scholarships.

22 posted on 08/16/2006 10:25:09 AM PDT by opinionator
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To: RetiredSWO

2 direct hits in your post! Very pithy, too!

23 posted on 08/16/2006 10:25:27 AM PDT by Husker8877
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To: flutters

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.

24 posted on 08/16/2006 10:27:18 AM PDT by vetvetdoug
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To: LetsRok

"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.

25 posted on 08/16/2006 10:29:54 AM PDT by MPJackal ("If you are not with us, you are against us.")
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To: MPJackal

He would not be welcome in that town if his actions caused others to miss out on college scholarships. A good lesson indeed.

26 posted on 08/16/2006 10:34:53 AM PDT by LetsRok
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To: Steve_Stifler
The judge is obviously an idiot, but what about a school district that would still allow these cretins to play football?

I agree. The judge should be impeached. He was far too lenient here. The school district is sending a bad message as well.

27 posted on 08/16/2006 10:36:59 AM PDT by afnamvet (It is what it is.)
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To: flutters

Stupid is as Stupid does!!!

We can expect further return engagements to the courtroom for Campbell after this travesty.

28 posted on 08/16/2006 10:37:54 AM PDT by WmCraven_Wk
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To: Warren_Piece
When I saw the title, I could have sworn this would be in Texas or Alabama.


Amazing that there are judicial jacka$$es cum sports fanatics outside of the American South, isn't it?

29 posted on 08/16/2006 10:43:58 AM PDT by Monkey King
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To: flutters

"I shouldn’t even be doing this,"

Yet, he still did what he knows is wrong!

30 posted on 08/16/2006 10:44:41 AM PDT by CSM ("The fatter we get as a country the more concerned we get about smoking" - ichabod1)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

It is NOT Columbus. Kenton is an hour outside of Columbus and has is a small town.

31 posted on 08/16/2006 10:47:13 AM PDT by whitedog57 (Holland)
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To: flutters
According to the law, it is the driver's responsibility to drive in a manner in which they can stop or avoid such obstacles.

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.

32 posted on 08/16/2006 10:47:34 AM PDT by untrained skeptic
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To: opinionator

What? The University of Miami didn't offer them a scholarship first?

33 posted on 08/16/2006 10:47:57 AM PDT by Utahrd
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To: LetsRok

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.

34 posted on 08/16/2006 10:49:57 AM PDT by Utahrd
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To: art_rocks
"I would have wanted to see how my punishment for contempt would have compared"

Yeah, I wonder if your punishment would wait until after football season.

35 posted on 08/16/2006 10:51:15 AM PDT by robertpaulsen
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To: flutters
There's a certain amount of sense to this decision. Not letting them play ball would also penalize their teammates, and their fans.

It was basically a prank, with tragic consequences.


36 posted on 08/16/2006 10:51:33 AM PDT by E Rocc (Myspace "Freepers" group moderator)
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To: flutters

If it were my relative they'd injured, you can be d*** sure he'd have held me in contempt after announcing that sentence.

37 posted on 08/16/2006 10:51:42 AM PDT by theDentist (Qwerty ergo typo : I type, therefore I misspelll.)
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To: flutters

This has GOT to be a hoax.


38 posted on 08/16/2006 10:52:09 AM PDT by 1L
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To: Steve_Stifler
True. A good coach or school administration would state that such behavior will not be tolerated no matter how much it "hurt". The message to the players should be keep your nose clean and try again next season. If there isn't one, then that's too bad.
39 posted on 08/16/2006 10:53:01 AM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult (The man who said "there's no such thing as a stupid question" has never talked to Helen Thomas.)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

No it isn''s Kenton Ohio...

40 posted on 08/16/2006 10:54:12 AM PDT by MikefromOhio (aka MikeinIraq - I BEEEEEEELLLLLLIIEEEEVVVEEEEEEE in the conspiracy of the flying knee....)
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