Assault nets 15 years in state prison

Published 6:00 am Monday, January 29, 2001

A Brookhaven man was ordered Friday to serve 15 years of a total30-year sentence in connection with a May 25 aggravated assault andburglary.

After pleading guilty Tuesday, Timothy Laird, 28, of CongressSt., received consecutive 10- and 20-year sentences on burglary andaggravated assault charges while a kidnapping indictment was notprosecuted. Laird was also ordered to pay $19,318 in medicalexpenses for victim Kevin Sanders, who was shot twice during adomestic incident at Sanders’ home.

“He’s a first offender, but it’s a very serious crime,” saidAssistant District Attorney Jerry Rushing about Laird and thesentence.

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During sentencing, Laird faced Sanders, who did not wish toaddress the court, apologized and asked for his forgiveness.

“We’ll see each other again, and maybe we can go fishing orsomething,” Laird said.

Judge Mike Smith also sentenced Laird to pay a $2,500 fine, $500to the Crime Victims Compensation Fund (CVCF) and to get hisGeneral Equivalency Degree. The judge said it speaks well of Lairdthat he could apologize for his actions, and he encouraged him toattend church services while in prison.

“You get yourself straightened up and maybe you can help some ofthe others,” Smith told Laird.

According to the prosecution’s theory in the case, Laird brokeinto Sanders’ home while Laird’s ex-girlfriend, Patricia Hooks, wasat the residence. Laird shot Sanders in the leg and neck beforetaking Hooks to his car.

As the two were leaving, Laird saw Sanders going to get help.Laird left his car to pursue Sanders, but Hooks drove the car tothe police department to report the incident.

In another aggravated assault case, Barbara Watson, 18, of 334Minnesota St., received a five-year suspended sentence afterpleading guilty to the sufficiency of evidence on that charge andburglary of a dwelling. She was sentenced to five years on eachcount to run concurrently, but was placed on probation for thatperiod.

Watson was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, $250 to the CVCF and$1,088 in medical expense restitution for the victim, who was cutwith a box cutter during a domestic-related incident. The defendantwas also to complete alcohol and drug treatment and to attendNarcotics Anonymous meetings once a week for a year.

Parties in the case were ordered to have no contact with eachother.

“I’m trying to keep down any more trouble,” Smith said.

In a methamphetamine case, James Vanetten, 44, of Delta, La.,was ordered to serve 10 years of a total 60-year sentence afterpleading guilty to possession, possession of precursor chemicalsand conspiracy charges.

Smith’s sentence was a departure from a prosecutionrecommendation of a 12-year sentence with seven to serve. The judgesaid Vanetten was an habitual criminal, whose record included fiveprior felony convictions.

Vanetten objected during the hearing and claimed some “falsetestimony” was allowed into evidence. Smith urged him to save hisclaims for an appeal.

Sources said Vanetten had advised other jail inmates on theircases and had filed several complaints against Smith on theirbehalf following his guilty plea.

Vanetten was ordered to serve the remainder of his sentence onpost release supervision. He was also to pay a $5,000 fine andenter an alcohol and drug treatment program.

Also Friday, Anthony McDaniel, 29, of 354 Doolittle Lane, BogueChitto, received a five-year sentence on third offense DUI charges.He was ordered to serve the first year and a half, with theremainder on post release supervision, to pay a $4,000 fine, toobtain alcohol and drug treatment and to attend weekly AlcoholicsAnonymous meetings following his release.

Kevin Lyons, 29, of 412 Liberty St., pleaded guilty to a bill ofinformation on two counts of uttering forgery.

Pleading guilty to a bill of information avoids the grand juryand indictment process and allows a defendant to be sentenced.Lyons’ sentencing was scheduled for Tuesday.