Hummel Sentences Cisar
On April 22 Judge David Hummel Jr. sentenced Derek Paul Cisar, 28, of 36 East Thistle Dr., New Martinsville, to one to five years in the West Virginia Mens Penitentiary for felony unlawful assault and one year to be served in the Northern Regional Jail for misdemeanor battery.
The sentences will run concurrently. Also, Cisar can file a Rule 35 motion for modification of sentence which Hummel said he will consider after one year. He is to pay restitution to victim James Anderson in the total amount of $9,401.09. He was ordered no contact with victims, Anderson and Mark Mullet, with his bond to continue until he reports to the Northern Regional Jail on May 1 to be delivered to the Division of Corrections.
Cisar had pleaded guilty in Wetzel County Circuit Court on March 23 to felony unlawful assault and misdemeanor battery. The alleged assaults took place on Oct. 22, 2008, outside of JT’s Lounge.
Prosecutor Timothy Haught brought to the court’s attention the day of the sentencing that Anderson’s medical bills totalled $9,401.09 and recently a restraining order was placed against Cisar for an alleged domestic violence charge. Cisar’s attorney, Jeremiah Gardner, told the judge that Cisar was planning on attending the hearing that afternoon on the allegations.
Judge Hummel pointed out, “These are allegations and nothing more. Another court will decide on this, but this court needs to know this.”
Gardner submitted multiple letters of character reference on behalf of Cisar to Judge Hummel and called to the stand his first of four character witnesses-Father Stephen Vallelonga of St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church in New Martinsville. Father Vallelonga told the court of knowing Cisar for eight years and of his work history with the church. He stated, “I think he is an excellent citizen and I would like him to keep coming to the church.” He even asked to talk Judge Hummel himself and was granted permission by Hummel. He told the judge that he knows Derek is remorseful and he believes he has changed.
Haught asked Vallelonga, “What would say if you saw the recorded tape and saw Mr. Anderson has his hands up in his face defending himself, would you change your mind?” Vallelonga said, “No I would not.”
Haught then asked Vallelonga if he knew of the fight in 2005. Vallelonga said he knew of it. Haught then told of this past incident in which the victim was kicked in the face. He also talked of a home confinement violation. Judge Hummel then brought to the attention of the court that this 2005 incident caused a shattered jaw on the victim.Gardner then called Charles Fruner to the stand. Fruner told the court of how he has known the Cisar boys all their lives. He spoke of seeing Cisar when he was umpiring the ball games for the kids. Fruner said, “I see the little things he does for them.” He also said “I can tell you honestly he is truly sorry of what he did.” Fruner told the judge he thinks he should get another chance. Judge Hummel then asked, “Do you think three times is enough?”
The third character witness was Cisar’s mother, Beverly Cisar. She told the court, “I apologize to the people that came here today, I did not know they would be crossed examined. And I did not know past experience would be brought up or an alleged domestic violence charge also. I am appalled that this has happened.”
Beverly then read a letter before Judge Hummel about what Derek, her son, meant to her and how he has helped others and his church. He has been in many activities and volunteered his time. She hoped the judge would see the good he has done in his life.
Haught asked her, “Do you understand there is no justification in what he did that night?” Beverly responded by saying, “I am not saying he is excused for his crime. If we wanted a trial, we would of done that. He admitted to the judge he committed a crime.”
Haught reminded her that this was a sentencing. Beverly said “I’ve never seen this happen before; I’ve been to them before.”
Gardner then asked Kimberly Gongola to take the stand. Gongola read a letter to the courtroom noting Cisar’s past volunteer work at the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown and much more. She told Judge Hummel, “I would be proud to say that Derek Cisar would deserve a second chance.”
Hummel let Cisar speak before giving him his sentence. Cisar told the judge, “I apologize to the victims. I put myself in that situation.” He went on and said, “The mistake I made is that I still thought I could drink socially and I can’t. I would like a chance to continue to be in the community.”
Prosecutor Haught told the judge that Cisar was given a second chance when the state entered into a plea agreement on his last conviction and let him have home confinement. He told Hummel that Anderson has partial loss of vision in his right eye because of Cisar. “We don’t justify violence. Let’s not forget about the victims,” Haught pointed out.
Hummel reminded all those present that Cisar did plead guilty. He then denied a motion from Gardner for alternative sentencing. Hummel gave Cisar his sentence and explained that he could file for a Rule 35 sentence modification. The judge will consider that motion after Cisar serves one year.