Joseph Jones said he heard the words of apology from the men found responsible for the beating death of his nephew, but the words - although appreciated - won't bring Marland Woods back.
"He didn't deserve this," Mr. Jones said Wednesday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court of the man he helped raise. "He was only 33 years old. He had his whole life in front of him."
The two men involved in a fight outside the former Caesar's Show Bar that resulted in Mr. Woods' death were sentenced Wednesday to prison.
Terrance Osley, 20, of 1815 Lagrange St. and Norman Corggens, 20, of 1665 Indiana Ave. each previously had entered an Alford plea to involuntary manslaughter, a third-degree felony.
Wednesday, Judge Linda Jennings sentenced Osley to five years in prison. Osley, who had a previous felony record and was responsible for the initial punch that knocked Mr. Woods to the ground, also was ordered to serve 11 months for a probation violation for 2008 drug charges.
Corggens, who was found to have kicked the Findlay man after he was on the ground, was sentenced to three years in prison.
"This was a senseless and brutal death," Judge Jennings told the two men before sentencing. "What started out as something so insignificant as an argument on a dance floor ended in someone's death."
Joseph Jones returns to his seat in court after making a statement on behalf of the late Marland Woods.
Mr. Woods, 33, died Dec. 19, six days after he was assaulted near the downtown bar he had patronized.
In an Alford plea, the defendant maintains his innocence or does not admit he committed a crime, but pleads guilty because he decides it's in his best interest. The court treats it as any guilty plea.
According to Assistant County Prosecutor Rob Miller, the incident began inside the nightclub when pushing and bumping began among patrons who were invited to dance on stage after the establishment's final performance. At that time, Osley and Mr. Woods became embroiled in a fight.
The incident was eventually broken up and the club owners kicked everyone out of the bar. Mr. Woods left with his friend and went across Ontario Street to the parking lot of the Greyhound bus station.
Moments later, Osley followed him and punched him in the head, Mr. Miller said. After he fell to the ground, witnesses saw both Osley and Corggens kicking Mr. Woods while he was on the ground, authorities said.
Osley turned to face Mr. Woods' family and friends who crowded the courtroom Wednesday and offered an apology. He asked for forgiveness and insisted he isn't the man who they believed him to be.
"It really, truly, was an accident. I wasn't trying to hurt anyone, that's not the type of person I am," he said. "Whatever the sentence, I do deserve it. … I hope you can find it deep down inside of you to forgive me because I really didn't mean to do it."
Corggens' attorney, Martin Dowe, pointed out that fights occur frequently at bars but acknowledged the tragic results in this case. He said Corggens didn't know Mr. Woods or have a problem with him, but found himself helping Osley, with whom he was in a relationship at the time.
Corggens concurred, saying he never intended for "anything to happen."
"My whole part in this was to break it up," he said, adding that it resulted in "other stuff" happening.
Mr. Woods' family and friends left quickly after the sentencing. In court, Mr. Jones described his nephew as an "extraordinary person" and an important part of the family.
"We're hurt. Talking about him brings tears to my eyes," he said. "He wasn't perfect, nobody's perfect, but he was extraordinary. He was special."
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