Latrez Cummings , the 19-year-old gang member who, along with friends, jumped Steve Utash in Detroit after he got out of his pickup truck to help a 10-year-old who had stepped in front of his vehicle, may have gotten off easy as far as sentencing – but not without a verbal lashing from Judge James Callahan.
Callahan didn’t hold back in admonishing the teen; telling him that he needed a father to ‘beat the hell out of him’ and keep him out of trouble. Then he proceeded to sentencing him to six months in jail for his role in the brutal mob-style assault on Steve Utash in April.
Cummings told the judge that his father wasn’t around when he was growing up.
Callahan said Cummings needed a dad, ‘someone to discipline you. Someone to beat the hell out of you when you made a mistake, as opposed to allowing you or encouraging you to do it to somebody else.’
Four others have also pleaded guilty to assaulting Utash, who was in a coma for days after the April attack.
The judge’s comments caused a spirited exchange with assistant prosecutor Lisa Lindsay, who felt that the six-month sentence was too light and accused the judge of being lenient towards the boy because he grew up without a father. She pointed out that there are many young black men who were raised without a father but haven’t committed crimes. Cummings is black.
‘Did I ever use the term “black?”‘ replied Callahan, who is white.
‘It doesn’t matter if a person is black, white, yellow or red.’
Cummings was the last defendant to be sentenced in the case. The longest sentence was nearly 6 ½ years in prison for a man who got more time because of prior criminal activity.
Utash has permanent brain damage. He was in a coma for days after he was beaten by Cummings and his friends in April.
See video report below