A man in Roanoke, Virginia, was sentenced to an eight-year prison term for beating his pregnant girlfriend who was on crutches.
According to the Roanoke Times, Jamar Bernard Woody begged a circuit court judge on Monday to reduce his sentence so he doesn’t have to “watch my sons grow up through pictures.”
“This is my breaking point,” Woody said as he hyperventilated. “I’m not fit to take this right now.”
However, based on the evidence and surrounding circumstances, the circuit judge found the sentence, which is two years above the maximum sentence, to be fair.
“I don’t find that to be unreasonable,” Judge Chris Clemens told him.
Woody, 35, was convicted in January of malicious wounding for brutally attacking his girlfriend, Shatory Irving, when she was three months pregnant. The attack occurred June 8, 2016, in a busy southwest Roanoke convenience store. Jurors watched surveillance footage from the store which captured Woody sucker punching Irving in the head and kicking her once she’d fallen to the ground.
A cashier came to her defense and ordered Woody to leave the scene.
Doctors testified that Irving, 26, suffered a inch-long cut to her forehead that exposed part of her skull. But last fall she delivered her child, who, despite arriving prematurely, is reportedly in good health.
“She really is fortunate that she wasn’t hurt more than she actually was,” Roanoke Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney David Billingsley said.
At Monday’s sentencing, defense attorney Melvin Hill cited Woody’s past diagnoses of mental illness and called witnesses who claimed that the problems began brewing long ago.
“You have to understand, it is a volatile, toxic relationship,” Hill said.
Dana Woody, his mother, said her son has never received proper therapeutic treatment while incarcerated.
“My son goes in and when he comes home, he’s even sicker,” she told Clemens, adding that in January, a few days after he was found guilty, he attempted suicide in jail. She said Monday that she fears he will try again.
Clemens said he would make psychiatric treatment for Woody part of his sentencing order.
“You’ve got to do something to deal with all that anger that built up with you and Shatory,” Clemens told Woody at the hearing.
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