Logan man gets 3 years for beating friend

Christopher Sherwood

For battering a one-time friend unconscious and abandoning him on the street, a Logansport man was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison and another year after that on probation.

With good time credit, Christopher Ryan Sherwood, 31, could serve 27 months of his sentence behind bars.

Defense attorney Bryan Coulter had argued for home detention.

Although the victim required $120,000 in medical care, Sherwood will be responsible only for the $83 the man’s insurance didn’t pick up.

Sherwood pleaded guilty to Level 5 battery resulting in a serious bodily injury on June 10, and in exchange for that plea, the state dropped a charge of Level 2 felony robbery, which carried a sentence of 10 to 30 years.

Coulter said during Thursday’s sentencing hearing that the incident was never a robbery, although the victim’s wallet, cellphone and shoes were missing.

Coulter had also argued that the incident wasn’t premeditated.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Sherwood was driving the victim around the city after picking him up at about 10:50 p.m. on May 8, 2018, to hang out.

Sherwood stopped on Eel River Drive in the Adamsboro area to urinate, and the victim also got out of the truck.

The affidavit states that Sherwood asked the other man to help him find a ring he lost, and while the victim was bent over using the light from his cellphone to search, Sherwood struck him around the head and face.

When the man regained consciousness, he had to walk to a friend’s house in a residential area to get help and call his parents.

His mother testified Thursday that he had holes in his socks from walking so far.

After the victim went to the police department, then to the hospital, police arrested Sherwood, who refused to talk without a lawyer present, according to charging information.

Sherwood’s girlfriend told police that he was jealous of her friendship with the victim and that he’d been acting oddly that night.

She also had to direct police to where he’d parked his truck — the 300 block of 10th Street — although police didn’t find any of the victim’s missing items in it or on Sherwood.

Sherwood testified Thursday that he never planned the incident but wanted to talk to the victim about his supplying methamphetamine to Sherwood’s girlfriend and having her come along on deliveries.

“I don’t know why he got out of the truck. We were having an argument,” Sherwood said.

He said the argument got out of hand, and the victim was getting argumentative.

“I can’t explain it. I wasn’t thinking at all that night,” Sherwood said.

The victim wasn’t at the sentencing hearing and was in jail on an unrelated incident. However, his mother spoke in her victim’s statement about the long hospitalization with complications, including surgeries that could only be done after her son healed because they were risky. She said doctors indicated that the victim has been placed on seizure medicine for the rest of his life and that he could develop Alzheimer’s disease by age 50.

She also said that it was only recently that they had heard the story about drugs involved.

Cass County Deputy Prosecutor Jamie Groves argued against the defense version, noting that while the victim was badly beaten, Sherwood didn’t have any significant injuries and apparently kept hitting the victim while he was down.

The victim could’ve died from the hematoma — the bleeding on the brain — incurred during the beating, Groves said.

He argued there was also no reason for the cellphone, shoes and wallet to be missing unless Sherwood did something with them or a third party came along and scattered them.

“He took him out there to make a point,” Groves said.

Cass Superior Court Judge James Muehlhausen said before sentencing that despite any reason Sherwood may have had for the battery, it boiled down to his beating a man unconscious and leaving him in the middle of nowhere.

“That really doesn’t make a difference because the law protects everybody, even people we may not think deserve it,” Muehlhausen said. “Mr. Gross is right: you’re lucky you’re not facing a [murder] charge.”

He also cited that the victim’s life could be over at 50 because of Alzheimer’s.

“You can’t ignore that stuff,” he said.

Muehlhausen added a year to the sentence recommended by state law because of Sherwood’s previous misdemeanor convictions, including one for battery.

Reach James D. Wolf Jr. at james.wolf@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5117.

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