4 guilty in French Quarter attack on Unitarian visitors

4 guilty in French Quarter attack on Unitarian visitors

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Two Boston men who were attacked and robbed in New Orleans‘ French Quarter one night during a Unitarian convention asked a judge to show leniency to their attackers.

The judge handed out prison sentences, but not the maximum.

NOLA | The Times-Picayune reports that victims Tim Byrne and James Curran made the plea in letters read aloud Tuesday in court by a prosecutor.

Both were in town for the Unitarian Universalist Association‘s annual assembly last June. Surveillance video showed them being attacked from behind.

“Personally, I won‘t feel any better if the folks who mugged me receive a long sentence,” Curran wrote.

Byrne also asked for leniency, asking for a “restorative justice” approach, which he said has been used in other places in “crimes far worse.”

Members of the local First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans attended the hearing in T-shirts with “Love” or “Black Lives Matter” written on them.

Assistant District Attorney Carolyn Livanos said Byrne is still in physical therapy because of brain damage from the attack.

The defendants – Dejuan Paul, 22; Rashaad D. Piper, 21; and Joshua Simmons and Nicholas A. Pogozelski, both 19 – pleaded guilty as charged to two counts each of second-degree robbery , which carries a minimum sentence of three years and a maximum of 40.

Probation was not an option because the charges are so serious and Byrne is still under medical treatment, state District Judge Camille Buras said.

The judge gave Paul, Pogozelski and Piper concurrent 15-year sentences on each charge, but suspended seven years of Paul‘s sentences and 10 years of those given the other two. All three will spend five years on active probation after leaving prison.

Simmons was sentenced to three years in prison on each charge, also concurrent.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola

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