Assault victim in Boardman forgives attacker; judge gives more lenient sentence

Christopher M. Edmonson Jr. sits at the defense table during his plea and sentencing hearing Monday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. Edmondson was sentenced to four to six years in prison for assaulting and robbing a woman he was dating

YOUNGSTOWN — A Garfield Heights man was sentenced to four to six years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to felonious assault and robbery charges in connection to a Dec. 6 incident on the sidewalk at Boardman Plaza.

The key to the case seemed to be the willingness of the victim Shandale Johnson to accept the plea agreement Christopher M. Edmondson Jr., 30, was offered and the kind words she said about the man who assaulted and bloodied her and stole items from her.

“I have recently given my life to God, so he is revealing what trauma is to me, and I haven’t spoken to my parents in years, and I’m actually speaking to them every day,” Johnson, who was dating Edmondson at the time, told Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge R. Scott Krichbaum.

“I forgive him,” she said. “I actually brought my daughter here today, my 12-year-old, because she had to see my faith, and my daughter went through some trauma herself, and I wanted her to see how to overcome trauma as a woman and don’t take the trauma with you during your life because I did that through my entire life.”

Krichbaum said, “It’s encouraging for me to hear you say that you forgive him,” adding, “it is a tribute to your faith. I admire that and respect that.” He just urged her, “Don’t let yourself be defined as a victim. Don’t give him that satisfaction.” He said she seemed to be “well on your way to that, if you haven’t done it already.”

Edmondson’s attorney, William Mooney, told the judge Edmondson has “suffered from mental health issues for a good part of his life.” He said Edmondson has no felony record prior to this incident.

Krichbaum said he trusted Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Day in his recommendation that Edmondson deserved to have a first-degree felony aggravated robbery charge reduced to a second-degree felony robbery and a recommended sentence of four to six years.

“He and I would never go along with something like this if the victim had not said that she understands the recommendation and she accepts it,” the judge said.

He would give Edmondson “a heck of a lot more time than what was agreed upon in this case,” the judge said. “The only reason I am doing it is because of that beautiful lady coming forward and saying what she said.”

He said what Edmonson did “was inexcusable and unforgivable. She’s found some way to do that. You should be thankful.”

Boardman police said when they arrived at the plaza, they found a woman on the sidewalk with several concerned people surrounding her. She had a laceration near her eyebrow and a laceration near her hairline, as well as blood on her face, hair and hands.

There also was blood on a firewood rack and firewood in front of the business.

A witness said she saw a man punch the woman repeatedly. He kept hitting her as she fell to the ground, and the man also “hit her head on the firewood stack, then picked up all her items and left,” a witness said.

Shoppers told the officer the man was walking in a nearby parking lot where he was detained. The victim was taken to the hospital for treatment.

After the hearing, the victim approached Edmondson’s mother and aunt, and they embraced. Edmondson got credit for 160 days spent in the Mahoning County jail awaiting trial.

Have an interesting story? Contact Ed Runyan by email at erunyan@vindy.com. Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, @TribToday.


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