Hummel Denies Cecil Alternative Sentencing
Judge David W. Hummel Jr. denied alternative sentencing for Steven M. Cecil, 48, of 28 Rose St., Lot 36 South, New Martinsville, because he was being sentenced for committing a violent crime.
Indicted on one felony count of malicious assault to have occurred on Aug. 30, 2008, the AAA trailer court, Cecil pleaded guilty on April 1 to the lesser and included offense of unlawful assault.
After being presented arguments in a sentencing hearing on May 1, Hummel sentenced Cecil to no less than one year and no more than five years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men. He is also to pay restitution to the victim of $565.
Hummel asked Cecil what happened on that day in August. Cecil said “I was protecting my grandchildren; I was protecting my family.”
Cecil’s attorney, Jeremiah Gardner, called to stand a witness that is also Cecil’s neighbor. She told the courtroom how Weaver was videotaping with a camcorder of her grandson and Cecil’s grandchild and he was in her driveway. She stated it made her feel uncomfortable and Cecil asked him to leave. She explained she did call the police, but it was 30 to 35 minutes before they arrived. She told of Weaver going down the road, but he kept on video taping.
Prosecutor Tim Haught asked the witness if this was a public street. She said yes, but its a dead end street. Haught then told her Weaver was not breaking any laws using a camcorder, nor did he threaten anyone.
Haught told the courtroom that Weaver suffered a broken eye socket from the assault that happened on that day.
Haught then asked Weaver to take the witness stand. Weaver told the court that he was there with his step son. He claimed Mark Cecil was harassing his stepson and he was using the camcorder to catch him doing it.
He went to explain that Steven Cecil grabbed his camcorder while it was still vidoetaping. He went back to his residence and called the police and was setting up the camcorder on the TV to show the police what happened when Mark and Steven Cecil came to his house. He went on to explain that Mark Cecil opened the door to Weaver’s house and let his dogs out and called out profanity to him.
He explained he went outside because Keith Streets was calling his dog and he wanted to video tape what was happening. He then was attacked and beaten unconsciousness and received a broken eye socket, broken nose, and a concussion; his eye was swollen for four weeks.
He told the court that even after the accident, Mark Cecil threaten him and that his eight-year-old step-son witnessed the whole thing and he is now afraid to go out and play outside. He also told the court that the video camcorder is still missing and the police were not able to find it.
Defense attorney Gardner asked Weaver if he ever caught anyone harassing his step-son. Weaver answered no. Gardner then asked, “Did you tell them what you were doing?” Weaver again answered no.
Haught told the court that Mark Cecil was the instigator of this event. He told of Weaver going outside to get his dog and being tackled, punched, and kicked. “Once again I am explaining to this court about vigilante justice. This is a matter for law enforcement.”
Haught recounted the injuries Weaver received, the trauma he has suffered, and how “we as a society do not tolerate this behavior.”
Cecil’s attorney, Gardner, informed the court that video taping is invading on other people’s privacy.
Cecil told the court that, “I hit one time, kicked him one time, and I had on flip flops on I could not have done that much damage (to Weaver).”
Also, Gardner presented to Hummel character letters on behalf of Cecil. He also told the court that Cecil was just trying to protect his family and he was remorseful of what happened. He asked that Cecil be given probation.
Judge Hummel spoke and said it was an odd situation of videotaping, but people cannot take matters in their own hands. He went on to explain that Weaver left and then they came to his house. He further explained that we cannot have a “lynch mob mentality” in society.