GA: Dad who punched coach gets 5 years

This dad may have been an idiot, but the idea that crimes against
public officials should be punished more harshly than regular citizens
has got to be making George Orwell roll in his grave.
Cobb County father sentenced to 5 years in prison for punching coach
By Rhonda Cook The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

One punch and a man is going to prison for five years.

The punch in October 2008 came two days after coach Preston Moses told
Ronald Lee’s 17-year-old son he had to run sprints for missing a class
at Pebblebrook High School or he could leave the team.

The upset boy took his punishment but complained to his parents. Lee
was “upset with something he thought the coach had said to his son,”
Cobb County prosecutor Bonnie Smith said.

After taking his son to a doctor’s appointment two days after his
punishment, Lee came to practice to talk to Moses, waiting until “all
the parents had left the field and he sucker punches the coach, "
Smith said.

“It sounds like just one punch … but it was an attack,” Smith said.
“We found it to be a premeditated, unprovoked act of violence.”

Moses’ lip was “split open all the way through,” and he has nerve
damage and gum injuries. Moses has had one surgery and is likely to
need another, Smith said.

She also said the coach’s son was standing with his father when Lee
hit him and then walked away, leaving the teenage players to care for
Moses’ frightened 7-year-old.

"My kid was just going crazy and I didn't understand exactly why,”
Moses testified earlier in the week. “I knew [Lee] had done something,
I didn't know exactly what it was. I knew I was hit and when I looked
down I was just covered in blood and that's why my kid ... was just
screaming, ‘Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.'”

Lee claimed it was self-defense, however.

“He dropped the whistle out of his mouth and he came towards me and I
reacted,” Lee testified. “He went down on one knee … I was just kind
of stunned for a minute because of what happened. And then I just
walked off the field.”

Until that day, there were no animosities between the two men.

“He’s sorry about what happened,” Lee’s attorney, Lagrant Anthony,

Lee and Moses had known each other since the Lee family moved to
Mableton from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Lee, a truck
driver, attended his son’s games and many of the practices. And Lee’s
wife was president of the high school’s booster club at the time of
the incident. Moses also had coached the Lee’s son in track as well as
football. Lee’s daughter often played with Moses’ son.

The jury deliberated less than an hour Wednesday before convicting
Lee, 41, of aggravated battery to a teacher, aggravated battery of a
school employee and cruelty to children. He could have been sentenced
Thursday to as much as 20 years in prison because the fight was on
school property and against a school employee, Anthony and Smith told
the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Judge C. LaTain Kell sentenced Lee on Thursday morning to five years
in prison plus another10 years probation.

“He doesn’t have a record,” Anthony said of Lee. “Most people who
don’t have a record don’t get a sentence this severe. But the
gentlemen in the Legislature thought these types of crimes committed
against a public official, like teachers, on school properties should
give those offenses a little more harsh punishment.”

Smith said the the sentence was sever because Moses was disfigured.

marianna says: "Sever"? Hello, AJC, I know you're losing money hand
over fist like every other paper, but economizing by firing all your
proofreaders is not the place to start.