Area man sentenced for violent drug deal

An argument over a drug deal that began in cyberspace and ended with a fight in the real world has resulted in one man’s trip to the hospital — and another’s trip to the Cass County Jail.

Robert Paul Quinn

Robert Paul Quinn

Judge Michael Dodge sentenced 45-year-old Robert Paul Quinn, of Edwardsburg, to 180 days in jail during his appearance in Cass County Court Friday, for a single charge of attempted assault with a dangerous weapon, a charge that Quinn pleaded guilty to Jan. 6. The judge also ordered Quinn to pay more than $11,000 worth of restitution to his victim.

The fight, which took place Sept. 4, broke out following an argument that started online between Quinn and the victim, when the latter accused the Edwardsburg man of shorting someone in a recent marijuana sale, Dodge said. The two exchanged a number of threatening and obscenity-laden text messages between one another, with the victim telling Quinn he would come to his house and beat him to the point of hospitalization, with Quinn encouraging the other man to make good on his threat, Dodge said.

When the victim did actually arrive at Quinn’s residence on McCain Lane, the defendant came outside to confront the other man, armed with a baseball bat. Quinn claimed that after seeing the victim make a movement he bashed him in the face with the weapon, breaking the man’s jaw and eye socket in the process, Dodge said.

“There’s no evidence in the presentence report, either, from the official description of the offense that the victim either possessed or produced a weapon,” Dodge said. “You had a baseball bat in what looked like, at worst, a fist fight.”

As a result of the attack, the victim incurred more than $11,000 worth of medical expenses, Dodge said.

According to Quinn’s attorney, Greg Feldman, his client confronted the victim in this incident because he lacked the ability to call police for help, which would have been the first thing he would have done otherwise, Feldman said. The attorney asked that the judge simply sentence the Edwardsburg man to time served so that he could get going sooner on his restitution payments to the victim.

“Given this is the first time any kind of violence has come out of this gentleman, given the that he was faced with a situation where fear probably caused him to do something he wouldn’t normally do under those circumstances, I think time served…is the best recourse for him,” Feldman said.

Quinn also addressed the court during the hearing, saying he was in the wrong and that something like this would never happen again.

In spite of  his attorney’s request, Dodge sentenced the Edwardsburg man to a jail sentence in the midrange of the state’s sentencing recommendations, with judge not finding the defendant a suitable candidate for probation due to his numerous probation violations in the past, Dodge said.

“If you hadn’t been in the market of selling illegal drugs, and he [the victim] wouldn’t have been in the market of purchasing illegal drugs, then the incident likely would have never happened,” Dodge said.

Quinn was given 78 days credit for time already served.

Also sentenced Friday:

• Robert George Singler, 50, of Edwardsburg, to 120 days in jail and two years of probation for various methamphetamine related charges.

• Aaron Francis Gingrasso, 23, of South Bend, to 18 months of probation for possession of methamphetamine.

• Tobias Joseph Johnson, 29, of Elkhart, to a minimum of four years to a maximum of 15 years in prison for various methamphetamine related charges and felony firearms.

• Ramon Rivera Rivera, 31, of Madison, Minnesota, to two years of probation for possession of cocaine.

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