Two men out to "defend their heritage" at 2017's "Unite the Right" event in Virginia were convicted of beating a black man as brawls raged on the street between demonstrators and counter-protesters.
Jacob Scott Goodwin of Arkansas was sentenced to eight years for seriously wounding DeAndre Harris during the infamous Charlottesville rally, while Alex Michael Ramos of Georgia was hit with a five-year sentence for the attack according to The Daily Progress, a newspaper based in the city. Both men were sentenced on August 23.
Amid a skirmish between a loose collection of far-right demonstrators and opposing “anti-fascist” activists, a group chased Harris into a Market Street parking garage, where he was attacked by men wielding sticks and shields, in the brutal August 12 encounter.
Cellphone video of the onslaught, which soon went viral, showed Goodwin and Ramos jumping into the fray to participate in the beating.
Goodwin's lawyers argued that he had acted out of fear — but Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Richard E. Moore was not swayed by the rhetoric.
“You had the appearance of military or riot police,” Moore said of Goodwin’s makeshift combat gear, as seen in the footage. “You had no rational reason to be afraid.”
The judge called attention to a stack of letters of support for Goodwin which claimed that he attended the event in order to "defend his heritage."
Moore, during Ramos' sentencing, made note of a social media post in which the attacker appeared to brag about the beating.
“We stomped some ass ... getting some was f*cking fun," Ramos wrote on Facebook.
Two other men, Daniel Borden and Tyler Davis, have been charged with malicious wounding in connection to the attack. Borden has entered an Alford Plea — in which he does not admit guilt but concedes that there is enough evidence for a conviction — and potentially faces 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in October 2018.
A trial date for Davis has not yet been set.
Harris, the victim, had also been charged with assault in the aftermath of the attack, but a court found him not guilty in March, according to The New York Times.
[Photo:Jacob Scott Goodwin (left) via Lonoke County Sheriff's Office / Alex Michael Ramos (right) via Monroe County Sheriff's Office]