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Vaughn gets max in near-fatal beating case

Published: Sat, August 24, 2013 @ 12:08 a.m.

By joe gorman



Judge R. Scott Krichbaum told a man he was sentencing Friday, convicted of beating a man severely in April, that eight years was not a fair exchange.

The judge told 35-year-old Terrell Vaughn that the law does not allow a punishment to fit the crime of putting a man in a wheelchair and taking his ability to walk, talk and think for maybe the rest of his life.

The judge did, however, sentence him to the maximum eight-year prison term for the charge of felonious assault.

“The law doesn’t allow for your life to be destroyed,” Judge Krichbaum said. “It only allows for it to be delayed or interrupted.”

Jurors in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court took a little less than two hours Thursday to find Vaughn guilty of the April 21 beating of 41-year-old Emil Smith.

Robin Wheaton, one of just three witnesses in the trial and Smith’s girlfriend, testified that Smith had been drinking most of that day and the couple were in Smith’s car to go to dinner when Smith stopped in the middle of the street to fix his car stereo.

An SUV with three men was behind the car, and someone blew the horn and Smith made an obscene gesture, Wheaton testified. She said Vaughn got out of the SUV and hit him, then the other two men got out and punched and kicked him even after he fell to the ground.

The other two men have not been caught.

Judge Krichbaum said there was no excuse for what happened to Smith even though he gave an obscene gesture. He said Vaughn and his “thug friends” took Smith’s life away from him.

“A helpless, wounded, defenseless human being laying on the ground, and you guys just stomped him to death, or almost stomped him to death,” Judge Krichbaum said. “I can’t think of a more cowardly act, more disgusting act, more obnoxious act. Really what you’ve done is destroyed this man’s life.” Smith was in court but unable to speak.

Wheaton said she saw Vaughn hit Smith, and she repeated that Friday. Vaughn has maintained that he was not involved in the beating. Wheaton said that is not true.

“He knows as well as I do that he did this,” Wheaton said.

“His [Smith’s] life has changed forever, and so has mine,” Wheaton said. “I’m in fear for the rest of my life because I’ll never forget this event.”

Vaughn said he was sorry for what happened to Smith.

“I feel bad for what happened,” Vaughn said. “I hope Mr. Smith gets well soon and his life gets back to normal.”

Assistant Prosecutor Nick Brevetta also credited Youngstown police Detective Sgt. David Sweeney for his investigation. Vaughn originally was charged with attempted murder, but Brevetta said the charge was amended to felonious assault because prosecutors could not prove Vaughn wanted to kill Smith.


1PCisnotcorrect(33 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Several red flags, Smith had been drinking most off the day, then he shouldn't have been driving, that's one, two, stopped in middle of road to fix stereo, too drunk to operate stereo and drive I believe there is a law if you are drunk and hit by a sober person it is automatically your fault. Plus Smith must be one of those only I matter no thought to anyone else. Glad it happened he sounds like a complete idiot. Vaughn was doing the community a service!!! People think they can do what they want without consequences Smith just had a good lesson. Laws that protect idiots!!!

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2handymandave(578 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Scotty knows how to settle a brother down. Been doing right by our community for years. Snuck in when the Democrats were preoccupied finding jobs, making the Youngstown area a better place to live, or maybe out assisting in a march.

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3Not_Surprised(48 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Stand your ground!

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4steelwagon(284 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

This idiot shouldn't have been out on the road driving if he had been drinking all day.
He could have pulled over to the side of the road to mess with his stereo rather than blocking the street to everyone else.

So Vaughn honks his horn and Smith flips him off.
Apparently he wasn't considerate enough to move his car out of the way.

I can see why Vaughn got angry and I wouldn't blame him one bit had he just smacked this dumb ass in the mouth a few times.
But a 3 on 1 severe beating that put the guy in a wheelchair is totally uncalled for over something so petty

Smith isn't completely innocent but there's no law against being an inconsiderate fool.
A few slaps in the chops would have been enough to teach the idiot a lesson in respect for others .

But Mr.Vaughn and friends went way to far and probably ruined Smith's life and put a huge burden on his loved ones
Can't excuse that !

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