Dowagiac teen gets tether for fight at party

Published 9:31 am Monday, September 14, 2015

An 17-year-old Dowagiac teen will spend the next several months on tether for his involvement in what county prosecutor described as a “drunken brawl.”

Judge Michael Dodge sentenced Jacob Ryan Allison to two years of probation and 90 days in jail during his appearance in Cass County court Friday morning, for a single charge of attempted assault with a dangerous weapon. The judge will allow the Dowagiac resident to serve his jail sentence on Michigan Department of Corrections tether, rather than spend the time incarcerated at the Cass County Jail facility.

Allison had pleaded guilty to the assault charge on Aug. 10.

According to the judge, the charge against Allison stemmed from his involvement in a fight that broke out between one of Allison’s friends and another man during a house party at a Rudy Road residence March 23.

When Allison’s friend was placed in a choke hold by the other man, Allison, who had been drinking at the time, smashed an empty beer bottle over the attacker’s forehead to defend his compatriot.

“That blow opened a gash on his forehead, which bled profusely and required him to be taken to the hospital for medical treatment,” Dodge said.

In addition to requiring stiches to close the wound, the victim suffered some disfigurement as a result of the attack, Dodge said.

The judge admonished Allison for his actions that night, saying that the person he attacked had done nothing to provoke such a violent response from the defendant, who could have blinded or caused significant head injury to the victim.

“You should have stayed out of this fight,” Dodge said. “Instead, you hit someone in the face with a beer bottle, and that’s going to leave a permanent disfigurement on him.”

The case is the first time the 17-year-old has been charged as an adult offender. Allison had two misdemeanor convictions on his prior record, as a juvenile, Dodge said.

“I know Mr. Allison has learned a lot from this,” said Gregory Feldman, the defendant’s attorney. “This is his first brush with the adult criminal justice system. It’s a young start, and he realizes that.”

In spite of his dangerous actions, Dodge agreed with the probation department’s recommendation that Allison serve his jail sentence on tether, due to the fact it was his first conviction as an adult.

“I hope you appreciate the serious nature of this attack, and learn that you need to control your emotions and not just instinctively react in the future,” Dodge said. “You can imagine how you’d feel if someone planted a beer bottle in your face, and you weren’t doing anything to provoke the person who actually attacked you.”

Allison declined the opportunity to speak on his own behalf before his sentencing.

He was given one day credit for time already served. He is also ordered to pay $3,575 in restitution to the victim.

Also sentenced Friday:

• Adam Ross Nelson, 30, of Edwardsburg, to 275 days in jail for possession of methamphetamine.

• Allen Joseph Miller, 42, of Dowagiac, to two years of probation and 253 days in jail for failure to register as a sex offender.

• Brian Scott Carpenter, 37, of Marcellus, to two years of probation for delivery/manufacturing of methamphetamine and operating/maintaining a lab involving methamphetamine.

• Richard Allen Baham, 33, of Kalamazoo, to a minimum of 51 months to a maximum of 30 years in prison for methamphetamine related charges.

• Sharmia Laniece Joseph, 32, of Dowagiac, to 18 months of probation for attempted assault with a dangerous weapon.