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Judge hands down multi-year sentences in Aug. 12 garage beating
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Judge hands down multi-year sentences in Aug. 12 garage beating

Goodwin, Ramos

Jacob Scott Goodwin (left), of Arkansas, and Alex Michael Ramos, of Georgia, will serve prison sentences of eight and six years, respectively.

Two men charged in connection to the brutal Aug. 12 beating of DeAndre Harris were sentenced by a Charlottesville judge Thursday.

Jacob Scott Goodwin, of Arkansas, and Alex Michael Ramos, of Georgia, will serve prison sentences of eight and six years, respectively. Both men were charged with malicious wounding for their roles in the beating of Harris in the Market Street Parking Garage on Aug. 12, 2017.

As the white supremacist Unite the Right rally fell apart, Harris was chased into the Market Street Parking Garage and beaten as he scrambled on the ground to get away. Hit with sticks, shields and fists, Harris was left with a laceration on his head that required staples to close, a broken wrist and multiple cuts and bruises.

A video of the assault on Harris shows a shield-wielding Goodwin knock Harris to the ground and then continue to beat him, alongside several other men. Ramos can be seen running into the fray and punching Harris.

On May 1, a jury recommended 10 years in prison for Goodwin with the option of some suspended time, a $20,000 fine and empathy training.

On Thursday, Judge Richard E. Moore upheld the 10-year recommended sentence but suspended two years. Moore added five years of probation to the sentence and ordered Goodwin to pay $5,000 in fines.

Prior to sentencing Moore described the video of Harris being attacked as one of the most brutal one-sided beatings he’d seen. He did not buy into the defense’s argument that Goodwin had acted out of fear.

“You had the appearance of military or riot police,” Moore said, describing Goodwin’s attire in the video. “You had no rational reason to be afraid.”

Holding a stack of letters written in support of Goodwin, Moore said that despite their contents claiming he had come to Charlottesville last year to “defend his heritage,” none of his actions had any positive effect.

Moore described the sentence as proportional, citing his Tuesday decision to give self-described Ku Klux Klan-leader Richard Preston a four-year sentence for discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school. A video from the rally showed Preston shooting the ground near counter-protester Corey Long, who had lit an aerosol can and pointed it toward the ralliers. Goodwin had caused more harm than Preston, both to Harris and the community, Moore said.

Ramos also was sentenced Thursday, and Moore’s decision was identical to the jury recommendations made in May. He said it was appropriate, given the “evil” nature of Ramos’s actions.

During his explanation, Moore pointed to a Facebook post written by Ramos following the rally in which he bragged about the assault

The post reads: “We stomped some ass…getting some was f***ing fun.”

“I am not bound by the jury verdict,” Moore said. “I find it to be correct in this case; in my view, you caused more harm.”

Moore added a suspended three-year sentence so he could give Ramos probation. According to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Nina Anthony, this was because suspended time is usually used for probation and in this case would function similar to modified parole.

Two other men also have been charged with malicious wounding in connection to the assault — Daniel Borden and Tyler Davis.

Borden, of Ohio, entered an Alford plea — in which he did not admit guilt but said the prosecution had enough evidence to convict him — and faces up to 20 years when he is sentenced in October.

A trial for Davis, who was arrested much later than the other three, has not yet been set. He is set to be arraigned Oct. 4, according to court records. Davis is currently free on bond but confined to his home in Florida.

Harris himself was arrested and charged with assault after video reportedly showed him striking a man with a flashlight outside of the garage where he was beaten.

At his trial in Charlottesville General District Court in March, Harris told the court that he thought the man — later identified as Harold Crews — was attacking his friend, Long, with a flagpole. He said he thought he was protecting Long from an unprovoked attack.

Harris said he never tried to hit Crews, but rather was aiming for the flagpole to knock it aside.

Harris was found not guilty of misdemeanor assault.

Tyler Hammel is a reporter for The Daily Progress. Contact him at (434) 978-7268, or @TylerHammelVA on Twitter.

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