MAHONING COUNTY Beating victim gets $1M in suit
The money will come from a defendant's trust account.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- An elderly man who was severely beaten and left for dead will receive $1 million from one of his attackers.
It's a settlement in a civil lawsuit filed in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court earlier this year by William Sovak against James Goins and others.
Sovak, 84, was assaulted at his former Miller Street home in January 2001 by Goins and Chad Barnette. He suffered broken ribs, multiple skull fractures and other injuries which left him unable to care for himself.
After he was beaten, Sovak was dragged to a fruit cellar in the basement of his home, locked inside and left to die. Relatives found him later the same day. He was forced to sell his home of 42 years and move into an assisted-living facility.
Goins and Barnette, both 18, are each serving more than 85 years in prison after being convicted of multiple criminal charges in common pleas court. The charges stemmed from the beating and robbery of Sovak and an elderly Marmion Avenue couple.
Sovak sued Goins and Barnette, their mothers and Butler Wick Trust Company, which administers a trust account for Goins.
A settlement was reached Thursday in which Goins agreed to pay Sovak $1 million and Goins' mother, Sheila Spivey of Youngstown, was dismissed from the suit.
Goins' attorney in the civil case, Sarah Thomas Kovoor, said the money will come from Goins' trust account, which is funded with proceeds from a wrongful death claim for his father.
"The crime [against Sovak] was heinous," Kovoor said. "There is no doubt that this man suffered terribly."
The trust was established in 1991 in Texas, where Goins' father died in an industrial accident. It's a structured settlement, which means money is paid into it each year.
The total will be $2 million, so Goins will still have half the money himself, Kovoor said. He'll use some of it to help pay for an appeal of his criminal conviction.
"If we'd gone to trial and lost, I could see a jury giving him the whole thing," Kovoor said. "At least this way he's still got some of it."
Prosecutors have also asked that Goins be made to pay more than $21,000 for the cost of his criminal trial. That issue is still pending.
The civil suit is still pending against Barnette, his mother, Yolanda Barnette, and Butler Wick, said Atty. Andrew W. Suhar, who represents Sovak.
Kovoor said that Goins' trust account has been overseen by the county probate court because he was a juvenile when it was established. However, since he turned 18 this week, she believes he should be able to determine for himself how it's used.
A hearing on the matter is later this month in probate court, she said.