CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Three St. Albans men who physically assaulted a fourth man, leaving him with several fractures and nerve damage in his face, received varying punishments for the crime Thursday, ranging from probation to a year in jail.Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom sentenced Rick Hanson, Brian Townsend and Gary Belcher, all 20, on charges linked to the beating of Corey Carr, whom the three men admitted to attacking on Park Street in St. Albans last year.The judge sentenced Hanson, whom prosecutors said was the ringleader of the beating, to a one- to five-year prison term, but suspended the sentence and placed him in the Anthony Correctional Center in Greenbrier County, where he will have to complete a yearlong program before being released on probation.Belcher received a year in the South Central Regional Jail after the judge noted that he declined to participate in a screening interview for the county day-report program. Belcher said that he understood the screening to be voluntary.
Bloom gave Townsend three years probation.On Oct. 25, Carr went to what he thought was a party on Park Street when the three men attacked him, Kanawha County Assistant Prosecutor Fred Giggenbach said. Townsend reportedly held Carr while the two others punched and kicked him.Hanson and Carr were former roommates. Giggenbach said one of the men owed the other a small amount of rent money.Carr was disoriented during the assault, and it was not immediately clear Thursday the exact roles the men played in the assault. Giggenbach, however, noted during the hearing that Townsend was the "least culpable" of the three. Belcher said he did not participate in the fight.Carr said he has nerve damage in parts of his face and no feeling in his right nostril. He cannot move his jaw to one side."It will have a lasting effect on me," Carr said during Thursday's hearing, in which he asked the judge to levy the harshest possible sentences on his attackers.Giggenbach said the apparent disparity between Townsend's probation term and Belcher's yearlong jail sentence was linked to the latter's demeanor in court. Of the three offenders, Belcher was the "most likely to be the next convicted felon," the prosecutor said."I believe he appeared to downplay his role," he said. "Courts take that into consideration."Reach Zac Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5189.