MOUNT VERNON — Despite a lack of remorse and a story that didn’t add up for a judge or a jury, a Martinsburg man escaped a long prison sentence Friday.
Randy J. VanWinkle, 41, was sentenced by Knox County Common Pleas Judge Richard Wetzel on one count of felonious assault and domestic violence to 90 days in jail and three years probation.
The felonious assault charge carries a presumption for prison, meaning that a judge must find certain criteria are present when weighing prison or community control. Wetzel cited VanWinkle’s lack of a prior record as overcoming the presumption for prison.
Wetzel said he also took into consideration testimony at trial that alleged VanWinkle’s victim “provoked or induced this offense,” and what a prison sentence would do to VanWinkle’s job and family.
Assistant Knox County Prosecuting Attorney David Merrell had recommended four years in prison.
When handing down the sentence, Wetzel said he realized it was “not going to make anyone happy” and make some feel as though “justice wasn’t done.”
VanWinkle was convicted in a July 26-28 jury trial of striking his girlfriend in the mouth with a handgun, causing her to lose three teeth. VanWinkle claimed that the girlfriend slammed her face into the gun while he held it.
In court Friday, VanWinkle said he did not receive a fair trial, and that the girlfriend’s teeth had been loose “for years.” Wetzel said VanWinkle’s statements showed that he had no genuine remorse for his actions.
Furthermore, Wetzel said that VanWinkle’s version of events presented at trial were not credible.
“The jury did not buy that and neither did I,” Wetzel said.
The victim was present in the courtroom but did not wish to make a statement. Wetzel told VanWinkle to stand, face the victim and apologize; VanWinkle said he was sorry and told her “it shouldn’t have went down like this.”
Wetzel ordered a suspended sentence of three years in prison, which could be imposed of VanWinkle does not follow the terms of probation.