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A tearful Kevin Clapsaddle said he was afraid of his bigger and more brutal cousin on the day he participated in the serious beating of a man who was left partially paralyzed and with the loss of one eye.
But although Clapsaddle's attorney called him a "follower," Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge Linda Jennings called the beating a "senseless act" that he later bragged about.
Judge Jennings sentenced Clapsaddle, 23, of 470 Parker Ave. to five years in prison for the July 8, 2002, beating.
David Dusseau was beaten in his Rymer Boulevard home.
"This was a senseless act that left permanent physical and psychological injury to the victim," Judge Jennings said. "You left this man beaten so severely that you believed he was dead."
Clapsaddle pleaded no contest to felonious assault June 16.
Clapsaddle and co-defendant, Raymond Cox, were arrested for the beating late last year after cold-case detectives reopened the case.
County Assistant Prosecutor J. Christopher Anderson said at the time of Clapsaddle's plea that when Clapsaddle was interviewed, he admitted watching Cox beat Mr. Dusseau and then admitted to taking a metal object and beating Mr. Dusseau as well.
In a tearful apology to Judge Jennings, Clapsaddle said he believed that he had to hit the man or Cox would kill him.
"I told [Cox] I'd hit him one time. I didn't hit him hard," he said. "I'm sorry I did it, but I was scared for my life."
Cox, 24, who is Clapsaddle's cousin, pleaded guilty May 12 to felonious assault for the beating of Mr. Dusseau as well as pleading guilty to murder, resolving two cases that had been unsolved for years.
Cox, who had been serving time in prison for a 2002 involuntary manslaughter conviction, was sentenced May 30 to life in prison for the 1999 murder of Theodore Goodacre and to four years in prison for the assault on Mr. Dusseau.
Judge Ruth Ann Franks ordered that the sentences run consecutively to one another and to the nine years Cox is serving for the death of Craig Coulter.
Mr. Dusseau's family nodded their heads in approval after the sentence was imposed, but declined comment after the hearing.
Clapsaddle's attorney, Jeff Simpson, said he had hoped for community control as the sentence, citing his client's limited criminal record, the fact that he was a juvenile at the time of the offense, and because he has an illness that requires special care. He said Clapsaddle understood he had a role in the beating, but he was following an "evil person" when he committed the crime.
"The bad guy here in this case was Raymond Cox," Mr. Simpson said after the hearing. "Kevin did play a part - we're not minimizing what he did. He even said what his role was and he certainly played a role."
Mr. Simpson added that the judge did not agree that community control was an appropriate sentence and hoped that Clapsaddle "will make use of the time as best he can."
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