Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Vandal gets 6 years in prison, tongue-lashing from judge



By Sharon Turco
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Judge Ann Marie Tracey didn't mince words. "(There's) a streak of sadism in your behavior that's very concerning to me," she told Mark Holtman Monday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. "...You're mean, you did damage for the sake of the thrill."

Then she sentenced the 20-year-old Colerain Township man to six years in prison for throwing a chunk of concrete at a vehicle on Springdale Road, seriously injuring a 17-year-old driver.

The evening of Oct. 29 was not the first time concrete had been tossed on the road, the judge said. Hamilton County workers reported that they often had to tow cars from the area - until Holtman's arrest.

Tracey said she'd been told that Holtman had tripped legally blind children and once tried to push someone in a wheelchair down a flight of stairs.

"You've got a streak running through you, a major problem," Tracey added. "Right now you're a threat to society."

Holtman was found guilty in May of two charges of felonious assault for seriously harming Scott Hoffman. He could have faced a sentence between 3 to 8 years in prison.

Three years was too lenient a sentence because Holtman's actions were intentional, Tracey said.

Hoffman, a Northwest High School junior, was driving the family van when Holtman hurled a large piece of concrete onto the road from a nearby creek bed. It smashed through the windshield, striking Hoffman in the head and knocking him unconscious.

His younger siblings gained control of the vehicle and crashed it into a vacant building to stop it. They were not injured.

But Hoffman suffered a traumatic brain injury, spent 17 days in intensive care, followed by another three weeks at the Drake Center. He's done with physical therapy, but continues with speech therapy to help him think faster and regain his memory.

Monday, Holtman's attorney, David Parker, called his client's actions, "impulsive, reckless and foolish."

Then, Holtman apologized.

"I am truly sorry for all the pain and suffering I caused," Holtman told the judge. "I hurt my family and (the Hoffman) family."

Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Lisa Rabanus said, "I disagree that this was an impulsive act. He'd done it before. This time the damage was much greater than in the past."

Hoffman said his attacker deserves to spend six years in prison. If he had anything to say to Holtman, he said it would be to "think before acting."

Hoffman's doctor has given him the OK to reapply for a driver's license and he's thinking about his Eagle Scout project again. He has six months to complete it.

His parents, Charles Hoffman Sr. and Ramona Hoffman, said they know their son can do it.

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E-mail sturco@enquirer.com




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