BARRE — A Granite City man who used a gun to beat another man because the victim didn’t pay for a sex act will serve one to five years in prison after a judge previously rejected a more lenient punishment.
Keino Wood, 22, was sentenced Thursday in Washington County criminal court in Barre. Last month, he pleaded guilty to one count of felonious aggravated assault and one count of simple assault. One count of assault and battery with a weapon was dropped under the plea agreement.
At last month’s hearing, Judge Thomas Zonay rejected a plea deal that would have had Wood serving a split sentence of two to five years, all suspended except 11 months. In a split sentence, someone is sentenced to prison and is put on probation when the incarceration period is over, with the suspended part of the sentence hanging over the offender’s head to be imposed if he or she reoffends.
Zonay rejected the plea deal, saying Wood needed more supervision than simple probation could provide. Wood had been held at the Northeast Regional Correctional Facility in St. Johnsbury on $75,000 bail since he was arraigned in December 2012.
If last month’s agreement had gone through, Wood would have gotten credit for time served. Since he has been jailed for more than 11 months, he would have been placed on probation.
Zonay said he wanted Wood on a straight sentence so that when he is released he would be placed on furlough, a rigorous type of supervision equivalent to serving jail time at home.
In court Thursday, Zonay said even though Wood was eligible to be released immediately, having served at least a year in jail, it would be up to the Department of Corrections when Wood would get out. Zonay said it was likely he would be serving more jail time, since the pre-sentence investigation submitted by the department after Wood pleaded guilty recommended he participate in incarcerative programming, or programming offered inside prison walls, which Zonay supported.
According to the Vermont State Police affidavit, the victim, described as being in his 40s, picked Wood up near Washington Street in Barre in June 2012. The man then drove Wood to the cemetery in Plainfield, where a sex act was performed, according to Wood’s statement to agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Wood told the agents he became angry when the man started to walk away because the man had not paid him for the sex act. Wood said he then pulled out a handgun and cocked it to scare the man into giving him money and that the gun jammed.
According to the affidavit, Wood said the man then walked toward him and they started fighting. Wood admitted hitting the man in the head with the gun, kicking him in the groin and punching him in the face several times, police said. Wood said he then took the man’s wallet and cellphone and walked away, according to the affidavit.
The man suffered a broken nose and eye socket, bruising on his face and a large cut on his head, according to court records.
The man told police this was not the first time he had met with Wood. He told police the pair had met days earlier when he picked Wood up and the two had engaged in a sex act that the man had paid for. Police said Wood confirmed that had taken place.
The man denied any sex act took place on the day of the assault, however. In court documents, the man said Wood had tried to shoot him before the assault but the gun did not work. He said he heard the click of Wood pulling the trigger, but nothing happened.
Wood was picked up in December 2012 by Barre police in an unrelated incident and was interviewed about the assault, eventually admitting to the details of the event, according to court papers. ATF agents later recovered the gun.
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