- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A judge rebuked a teenager Tuesday before sentencing him to 16 years in prison for his role in a brutal attack that nearly killed a St. Paul man last summer.

Cindarion Butler, 17, apologized in court. But Ramsey County Judge Joanne Smith gave Butler the stiffer sentence sought by the prosecutor.

“What you’re telling me is for your own benefit,” Smith told Butler. “Frankly, what I think you’re sorry for is that you were caught.”

Butler was certified to stand trial as an adult. A jury convicted him in January of aiding and abetting first-degree assault and aiding and abetting robbery in the Aug. 4 attack on Ray Widstrand on St. Paul’s East Side.

The convictions called for a sentence of seven to 10 years, but the jury found there were aggravating factors in the case, the Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/1gyzc4r) reported. That allowed Assistant Ramsey County Attorney David Miller to seek the 16-year sentence.

Butler’s attorney, Christopher Zipko, asked Smith for an 8 1/2-year sentence.

One other teen was acquitted at trial, one juvenile pleaded guilty and the case against another juvenile certified as an adult is ongoing.

Widstrand, 27, was jumped on, kicked and punched on Aug. 4 after dozens of teens spilled out of a house party onto the street to watch three fights between girls. Widstrand, who lived nearby, walked into the melee and was attacked when he stopped to help a girl off the ground.

Widstrand, who now uses a cane to walk, appeared in court Tuesday to read a victim impact statement. He told the judge that it’s unclear if he’ll ever recover enough to drive again, work full time or live on his own. He continues to receive outpatient care and is scheduled to have a plastic plate screwed into his skull next week.

“The actions of Cindarion Butler and the other individuals who attacked me . brought my life to a screeching halt,” Widstrand told the court. “I was a productive member of society. Since then, I have been living in and out of hospitals, care facilities.”

But Widstrand said afterward that he appreciated Butler’s apology.

“I am happy that justice was served,” Widstrand said.


Information from: Star Tribune, https://www.startribune.com

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