AUBURN — An Auburn man with an extensive criminal history was sentenced to prison Thursday for assaulting a 68-year-old Vietnam War veteran last year.
Darius E. Brown, 26, of 73 North Lewis St., pleaded guilty in December 2016 to felony second-degree assault. At the time, he admitted to attacking a veteran in his home at around 2 a.m. on May 22, 2016.
Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann said Brown had gotten into a domestic incident with his sister that night after getting kicked out of a local bar. The veteran — hearing an argument outside of his home — let Brown's sister inside to seek shelter.
"The night of the incident I was trying to protect a woman (Brown) was with," the man said Thursday in Cayuga County Court. "But I got the short end of the stick."
The man described how Brown broke his front door, chasing the woman into his home. He said Brown punched him in the face and knocked him to the floor, kicking him repeatedly in the back and legs, causing permanent nerve damage.
Brown was on parole at the time for five prior felony convictions, including second-degree attempted robbery, second-degree assault, third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, second-degree escape and first-degree attempted promotion of prison contraband.
"The victim in this case served his country, served his community and saved the defendant's sister from the defendant violently attacking her," Budelmann said in a press release at the time of Brown's plea. "In contrast to the victim, this defendant has spent his adult life not serving his community, but rather committing multiple violent crimes and victimizing others."
At his sentencing Thursday, Brown was seen rolling his eyes and shaking his head at the district attorney's comments. When it came time for him to speak, Brown insisted he had been drinking heavily that night and did not remember what happened.
"If they know I was intoxicated, why am I not charged like I was intoxicated?" Brown asked the court.
"This case really gets under my skin," Judge Thomas Leone said. "You beat this man — a man who served our country — and kicked him while he was down. ... And I don't think I've ever heard an apology out of your mouth."
Leone sentenced Brown to six years in prison plus five years post-release supervision. He also signed an order of protection for the victim and ordered Brown pay around $750 in restitution for the man's medical bills.
Also in court:
• A Syracuse man has admitted to committing several felonies while conspiring to sell heroin in Cayuga County.
Eddie Smith, 35, of 753 James St., was charged with 10 felonies and two misdemeanors this summer, including several counts of criminal possession and sale of narcotics. However, the district attorney allowed Smith to plead guilty Thursday to three felonies — third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and fourth-degree conspiracy — and second-degree menacing, a misdemeanor.
Smith, a second felony offender, told the court he conspired with co-defendant Jamal Slater to sell heroin in Auburn and on July 6, 2016, he sold a quantity of heroin to a confidential informant. Then, on July 26, Smith said he visited a man at 62 N. Fulton St. to collect cash from selling drugs.
"I was trying to collect money from this guy ... and I hit him in the head with my cell phone," Smith said. "He fell down and was knocked unconscious."
In exchange for his pleas of guilty, Smith will likely be sentenced to a total of four years in prison and two years post-release supervision. His sentencing is scheduled May 4.
• An Auburn man pleaded guilty to a felony Thursday after selling heroin that caused a near-fatal overdose last year.
Brandon Dutcher, of 67 Perrine St., admitted he tried to sell 15 bags of heroin in December 2016. The 31-year-old said he met someone on the corner of Orchard and Jefferson streets in Auburn to make the sale, but fled when he realized it was an officer.
Budelmann said a near-fatal overdose prompted an investigation into Dutcher, who turned out to be selling bags of fentanyl, a synthetic opiate.
Dutcher was originally charged with third-degree attempted criminal sale and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance as well as resisting arrest and second-degree obstruction of governmental administration. However, he pleaded guilty to the attempted sale in exchange for 2 1/2 years in prison plus two years post-release supervision.
In addition, Leone agreed to include a shock camp order so Dutcher could seek treatment for his own drug addiction.
• A Moravia man could spend up to four years in prison for burglarizing a home and selling heroin in Cayuga County.
Scott Morey, of 3 School St., pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary and third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance in December. At the time, he admitted to breaking into a house in the town of Locke and selling heroin to someone in 2015.
Leone sentenced Morey to 1 1/3 to four years in prison on the burglary and two years in prison plus two years post-release supervision. Morey was also given a shock camp order to allow him to get treatment for an opiate addiction.