Dowagiac man gets prison time for assaulting pregnant girlfriend

Published 12:52 pm Friday, February 10, 2023

CASSOPOLIS — A Dowagiac man is going to prison after assaulting his pregnant girlfriend and then later absconding from an earlier sentencing date. 

Andrew Gibson, 28, of Amerihost Drive in Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to third offense domestic violence as a habitual offender and was sentenced Friday in Cass County Circuit Court to three years to 10 years in prison. He has credit for 124 days already served and must pay $1,548 in fines and costs. 

The incident occurred March 8, 2021 in Dowagiac. Police responded to a 9-1-1 call about an assault and a stolen purse and arrested Gibson. He did not appear in either February or May of 2022 to be sentenced on the charge. 

Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz asked for the prison sentence and noted that his office had initially agreed to a sentence of a year in the county jail before Gibson failed to appear for his sentencing last May. Fitz said Gibson has a “pretty sketchy record” with past assault and other charges. 

Defense attorney Robert Kardatzke noted that Gibson also faces pending charges in Van Buren County and asked the judge to give him the benefit of the doubt for not appearing for sentencing last year. For his part, Gibson apologized to the victim. 

“You have an anger problem that goes back nine years,” Cass County Circuit Judge Mark Herman said. “You are 28 years old and this is your fourth domestic violence conviction. You also have two pending matters involving assaultive behavior in Van Buren County as well as two personal protection orders against you involving two different women.” 

“I’m always amazed at men with daughters who think it’s okay to beat on a woman,” the judge added. “You wouldn’t like anyone to beat up your little girls. Your actions are telling them that it’s okay to be smacked around by some guy. If you can’t change that, you will spend a lot of time in jail or prison.” 

“The agreement was for a year in jail and I was going to go along with that but then you absconded and committed another criminal offense,” he said. “When you thumb your nose at the court, there are consequences.”