Defendent in East Main stabbing says he didn't do it before being sent to prison for 10 years
JW Hardy III told Judge Charles Zambito today that the only reason he entered a guilty plea in the brutal and nearly fatal assault by a group of men against a lone victim on East Main Street in Batavia in July is that he thought it was the best way to minimize any potential prison term.
Zambito sentenced Hardy to 10 years in prison, the maximum sentence under terms of the plea deal.
"I took this plea to get home quickly to my family," Hardy said. "I'm sorry for what happened to the victim but I didn't do it. I'm innocent."
Zambito said there was a witness who identified Hardy, who didn't deny being at the scene, as one of the attackers.
He then explained that even being an accomplice, if not an actual attacker, exposes Hardy to the same criminal liability as if he was sufficiently involved.
"I have to recognize the magnitude of your involvement in a brutal assault that almost killed a man," Zambito said.
District Attorney Lawrance Friedman offered a brief description of the scene first responders found when they arrived. The victim was bloody from multiple stab wounds, including one that severed and exposed his bicep. He noted that one of the responding police officers -- Arick Perkins -- received community recognition for his quick action in applying a tourniquet that saved the victim's life.
"If not for his actions, this, of course, would be a murder case," Friedman said.
Because there were multiple people involved in the assault, Hardy was charged with, and admitted to, a gang assault felony.
Defense Attorney Marty Anderson said that Hardy is a good father to three children, ages 2, 3, and 4. He has been a good father, he said, even though he is the paternal father to only two of the three being raised by their mother.
He also noted that while Hardy had a prior gang assault charge, that was 15 years ago and the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor. The other blemish on Hardy's criminal record is one that was granted youthful offender status.
Even though police believe multiple people joined Hardy in the attack on the victim, there has only been enough evidence so far to charge Hardy and Anthony Spencer, 26. Spencer's case is still pending and he appears ready to take his case to trial.
There were at least four people in the courtroom in support of Hardy, who was not in custody prior to his sentencing. As he was led away by deputies, Hardy, a big but soft-spoken man, waved to them and said, "I will be all right."
The victim did not deserve was happened to him. Thank God this man was not set free......1 down & more to go.