Law enforcement personnel in cities throughout America have been looking for a message that will deter the insidious “knockout game” from being played. That message may have been delivered last week by a Minnesota judge.
CBS News notes:
A Stearns County judge sentenced 18-year-old Jesse Smithers to 10 years on Thursday. Smithers admitted to delivering a deadly punch in a St. Cloud alley almost a year and a half ago, when on Sept. 21, 2012, Colton Gleason was walking with friends when a car pulled up, and Smithers got out and punched him.
The father of the dead 20-year-old said the verdict does little to mitigate the pain Smithers inflicted on his family, telling reporters:
We’ve been given a life sentence by this cowardice attack and murder of our son. He’ll serve very few short years and he’ll be back out again, and our son is gone forever.
This group was out there and their intentions were very clear. This is unprovoked. They stopped and they saw someone they thought they could victimize. Colton didn’t have a chance to even turn and defend himself when somebody blind-sided punched him.
Smithers originally entered a plea of not guilty, but changed his plea in exchange for a reduction of the charge to second-degree murder in November 2013. At his sentencing today, he apologized for what he called a “complete accident.”
But Julie Gleason, the mother of the victim, disputes this claim. “Somebody didn’t just run over and hit a car and provoke an attack,” she said. “This was an attack that was meant to happen.”
He was just fun to be with all time, and he was always hugging and telling everyone he loved them.
If he avoids committing any offenses in prison, Smithers could be eligible for released in as few as five years.