Prosecutors in Detroit are hopping mad after a judge’s shocking decision on Thursday to give a teenager who participated in the brutal beating of a 54-year-old man a prison sentence of just six months.
The defendant, 19-year-old Latrez Cummings, was among 20 or so people who pummeled the man, Steve Utash, after Utash accidentally struck a 10-year-old boy with his vehicle on Detroit’s east side, then made the mistake of getting out of his car to assist the child.
The violent incident happened in April. A registered nurse on the scene told a local radio station that she eventually intervened because “there was nothing else they could do to him but kill him.” (RELATED: Detroit Driver Brutally Beaten By Teens After He Hits Boy, Gets Out Of Truck)
“He had the biggest gash on his head I ever seen,” the nurse, Debra Hughes, told local radio station WWJ. “He was bleeding from the mouth and he was unconscious.”
Third Judicial Circuit Judge James Callahan gave Cummings the exceedingly light six-month sentence despite allegations by prosecutors that Cummings is a member of a street gang and lied about enrolling in school after his arrest, reports the Detroit Free Press.
“There is nothing in this report favorable to this young man,” assistant Wayne County prosecutor Lisa Lindsey told the lenient judge at a sentencing hearing.
Judge Callahan was unmoved. He did admonish Cummings, though, after learning that the teen grew up without knowing his father.
“That’s what you have needed in your life is a father,” Callahan took the liberty of explaining in open court, according to the Free Press.
He added that the violent criminal needed “somebody to beat the hell out of you when you made a mistake.”
Lindsey objected to this wholly extraneous statement, but Callahan overruled her.
“We’ve all been 19 years of age,” Callahan told the prosecutor.
Of the mob of people who participated in the beat-down, only four adults and one juvenile have been charged. Only three witnesses have agreed to testify.
The defense attorney representing Cummings, Robert Slameka, called the sentence “extremely fair,” according to the Free Press.
He added that his client suffers from emotional problems, and he has a “great deal of sympathy for the injured party.”
Utash, the victim of the mob assault, was in the hospital for a long time after the incident. Doctors induced a coma. He still suffers from brain damage.
The 10-year-old boy hit by Utash’s car had a fractured leg.