Witness beating gets pair long prison terms
Thursday, March 13, 2014 11:00 AM
A judge sentenced two men convicted of beating a State's witness to lengthy prison terms Wednesday, sending a message that retaliation will not be tolerated.
Garry Allen Gibson, 48, will serve 16 years in prison and Dustin C. McFadden, 23, will serve 14 years in prison.
Gibson was convicted of aggravated battery, a Class B felony, and criminal confinement, a Class D felony. McFadden was found guilty of criminal confinement, a Class B felony, and battery, a Class B misdemeanor.
Both men were convicted by a jury in January for an attack on John Taulbee, who provided evidence to police that led to four arrests. Taulbee also testified against one of the men in trial.
Prosecutors believed the attack was retaliatory in nature, which Judge Darrell Auxier wrote in his ruling was the single most aggravating factor of the case. That factor alone was enough to consider a long sentence, he wrote.
"Such action is an attack on the court system and has the effect of discouraging the testimony of witnesses. A subpoenaed witness should not have to risk retaliation for doing his or her duty as required by law," Auxier wrote in his ruling.
In each ruling, Auxier referenced a series of speakerphone calls placed from the jail by Gibson and McFadden to Gibson's wife.
During the calls, Gibson speaks negatively about Taulbee and expresses wanting another chance to beat him up.
"As demonstrated by such comments, the Defendant (Gibson) obviously has no remorse for battering and seriously injuring the victim," Auxier wrote, adding that the statements indicate Gibson would likely injure Taulbee again if given the opportunity.
During the calls, McFadden does not make any negative statements about Taulbee, but he doesn't refute Gibson's statements either.
"This threat to the victim was not challenged or contradicted by (McFadden) and, as such, the Defendant impliedly acquiesced in the statements," Auxier wrote.
Prosecutor Chad Lewis requested Gibson serve 20 years in prison for the crime during a sentencing hearing held March 5. Auxier said Gibson's criminal history demanded a longer sentence. In 25 years, Gibson racked up 10 arrests and nine convictions, including four felonies.
Auxier found no mitigating factors that would lessen his sentence.
Lewis wanted McFadden to serve 15 years in prison, followed by three years on community corrections. He made the request at a sentencing hearing held Monday. Auxier found two mitigating factors: McFadden had no criminal history and two children for whom he was the sole provider.
"We accept the court's order and are proud they are going to be held responsible for taking justice in their own hands," Lewis said after the sentences had been announced.
McFadden's and Gibson's attorneys both requested their clients serve the minimum sentence of six years on community corrections or probation.
Auxier agreed due to the seriousness of the issue, writing that their behavior "cannot and will not be tolerated by our justice system. It is an attack on the values of our society."