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Published: Thursday, 4/10/2003

4th defendant in deadly beating gets 4 years

The fourth man involved in the beating death of a 38-year-old South Toledo man was sentenced yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Visiting Judge Stephen Yarbrough said the actions of Geraldo Z. Vieyra, Jr., and three others in the beating that led to the death of Rudy Y. Hernandez were “cowardly.”

Judge Yarbrough sentenced Vieyra, 19, of 2307 North Summit St., No. 2 to four years in prison, giving him two fewer years than his co-defendants.

Vieyra, Marcus Torres, Daniel Shanteau, and Billy Jack Adams were convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the July 14 death of Mr. Hernandez. The co-defendants were sentenced to six years in prison by Judge Judith Lanzinger, who left Common Pleas Court in February to take a seat on the 6th District Court of Appeals.

Prosecutors said the four men beat Mr. Hernandez of 2470 Lawton Ave. after a confrontation inside the New Triangle Cafe, 1202 Broadway. The men chased him from the bar to Maumee Street and Walbridge Avenue, where the assault took place.

Dr. Cynthia Beisser, a Lucas County deputy coroner, said Mr. Hernandez died from a pre-existing heart disease exacerbated by the beating. He also suffered injuries to his face.

Lorin Zaner, Vieyra's attorney, said his client, if involved at all, had a small part in the incident.

“He was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Mr. Zaner said.

In apologizing to members of the victim's family who attended the hearing, Vieyra reiterated his attorney's statement.

“I am sorry for what happened,” he said.

Judge Yarbrough said the defendant deserved less time than his codefendants because he did not participate to the same degree and level as the others. “I am not `walking' him. Somebody died here. He is going to prison,” the judge said.

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