OFFBEAT: No real winners in court

You see the good, the bad and the ugly when you cover the courts in Erie County. But the one thing you learn early on
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

You see the good, the bad and the ugly when you cover the courts in Erie County.

But the one thing you learn early on covering courts is there are no winners and no losers.

People whose lives have been ruined by either committing a crime or being the victim of a crime pass through the court house in a seemingly never-ending wave of misery and despair.

A rapist who had his way with a young girl gets two life terms.

Another man who watched porn of children on his computer gets sent away to teach him a lesson.

A man who stabbed two hunters in a field on a cold November day gets eight years.

And so it goes.

Meanwhile, I go into the courtroom, take my notes, talk to those involved and then go back to the newsroom and write the story.

After the story is filed, I get to go home. I'm not faced with time behind bars, like some of the people I write about. Nor do I have to live with the hell that comes with being a crime victim.

In my short time covering the courts it seems like the families of the victims and the perpetrators are the ones who take it the hardest.

I've watched the mother of one victim break down and sob uncontrollably while thanking Assistant Prosecutor Mary Ann Barylski for getting justice for her son.

I saw another mother's eyes well with tears when a public defender handed her an armful of journals penned by her son. An hour later that same mother learned her son would be heading to prison for eight years.

On Thursday I went to the sentencing of one Tyrone P. Cash. Just 23, Cash will be spending the next eight or so years behind bars for stabbing two hunters who approached him in Berlin Heights field last November. The mother of one of the hunters was the lady that broke down into tears in front of Barylski. Cash's mother was the one who got the journals.

Cash told Judge Roger Binette that the men had loaded shotguns and they used racial slurs before he attacked them.

Cash apologized for his actions, but said it all happened so fast and he was trying to protect himself.

Cash's case is an unusual one. It turned out at the time he stabbed the two men he had just descended into a bout with schizophrenia.

Cash's attorney, Jeff Whitacre, said Cash is nothing like the man he met before Cash was treated for the illness. Whitacre fought to keep his client out of jail. He told sentencing Judge Roger Binette about how Cash was enrolled in college and volunteered with children before being overcome by mental illness.

Cash's mother pleaded with Binette to not sentence her son to prison.

"Give Tyrone the opportunity to prove himself," she said.

On the other side of the coin, one of Cash's victims -- Mitchell Bellamy -- wanted no mercy for his attacker.

In the end Binette ended up sentencing Cash to eight years in prison.

As Cash left the courtroom he said to his mother, who was just a few feet away from him, "they can't break me," before he disappeared behind a gray courtroom door.

Binette summed up the situation best before sentencing Cash: "There are no winners. It's a sad situation."