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15 years for pedestrian rundown

Michael Wayne Washginton, Jr. during his sentencing hearing.Michael Wayne Washington Jr. of Macclenny was sentenced last week to 15 years in prison for running over and killing a handicapped pedestrian during a confrontation with another young man on April 11, 2011.

Circuit Judge Phyllis Rosier accepted Mr. Washington’s guilty pleas October 31 to manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident involving death, aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony and violation of probation.

The first two counts related to the death of Rashard Belford, 18, who lived in the same southwest city neighborhood as the 21-year-old defendant.

The aggravated assault count was connected to Mr. Washington’s altercation with Kevohntae Hadley, then 18, which drew an estimated 50 people to the melee at the corner of MLK Boulevard and Minnesota Avenue about 8 pm.

Witnesses told police Mr. Washington got into his mother’s 2001 Chevrolet sedan parked near the intersection and aimed it at Mr. Hadley, who had intervened in a fight among their younger sisters, reportedly over a boy.

The victim, who had cerebral palsy, was struck by the sedan and dragged underneath as Mr. Washington pursued Mr. Hadley. Mr. Belford’s family said at the sentencing hearing the defendant did not heed pleas to stop the vehicle.

Mr. Belford’s adoptive mother, Eddie Mae Lee, read a letter she wrote back in September expressing her disbelief that Mr. Washington was sorry for killing Mr. Belford. She argued he did not deserve the court’s mercy.

The victim’s family sought a stiffer sentence than the 15 years recommended by prosecutor Ralph Yazdiya.

“Who will have mercy on Rashard Belford,” said Ms. Lee. “ ... Money is not important. I just want justice ... It’s about justice.”

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Two years prison for crack sales

A Macclenny man was given a two-year prison sentence following his plea in circuit court on October 31 to multiple counts of selling crack cocaine to undercover buyers in the south city two years ago.

Elijah Thompson, 33, pleaded no contest during an abbreviated court session that day, and was given credit for 274 days he has been in jail. Judge Phyllis Rosier ordered him onto a two-year probation following release, and Mr. Thompson is liable for $520 in investigative costs.

The state dropped four of the original counts against him. The charges were upgraded because the sales took place within 1000 feet of the YMCA on Lowder St. Drug sales are considered more serious near churches and community centers.

Mr. Thompson was among three defendants given prison terms that day.

Cody Hodges, 24, of Macclenny admitted to violating probation from a 2011 grand theft charge and will serve an 18-month term, less 197 days in jail.

He was arrested at a Baldwin motel in December, 2011 where he was cooking methamphetamine.

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Wildcats take district title over Kenny

District champion Wildcats after the win over Bishop Kenny.There was a cool wind coming off the St. Johns River but the hundreds of Wildcat fans in the stands at Bishop Kenny on Friday didn’t notice the chill because it was hot on the field as BCHS bulldozed its way to a 49-35 victory and the district title.

Falon Lee continued on a tear, rushing for 222 yards on 28 carries and scoring three touchdowns.

For the Wildcat fans there couldn’t have been a better start to the game. Kenny was keying on the potent Wildcat running attack and quarterback Corey Lawler hooked up with receiver Mike Boone to catch the Crusaders by surprise. Boone turned on the jets and ran for a 66-yard touchdown strike. The extra point attempt failed, but Cats were quickly on the board.

The defending district champs weren’t going to let an early setback stop them and Kenny demonstrated its own offensive prowess. Though Kenny’s known for a prolific passing attack from quarterback John Wolford, it was the running game that drew first blood. Running back Cameron Singletary broke containment and ran 30 yards for the score. The point after gave the Crusaders a one-point edge.

The hosts quieted the Wildcat faithful again as they struck quickly on an offensive miscue. Ahmad Fulwood scooped up a Wildcat fumble and raced 47 yards to stun BCHS and put the Crusaders up 14-6. It was a reminder of Kenny’s quick-strike potential.

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Time to reform the system

By the time you read this column you will know the identity of the next president. The election will be over and either President Obama or Gov. Romney will be celebrating a win.

Maybe. It could be so close that like Bush/Gore in 2000 we still don’t know the victor. I hope we don’t have a repeat of that debacle. We need to get this over and done with right away so we can move on.

On Facebook, I posted the following: Whoever wins on Tuesday let’s agree to stop talking politics, griping about the election, predicting a coming apocalypse or the collapse of the country, sour grapes and name-calling. Instead, let’s be Americans and get on with it.

That’s my hope after this divisive election.

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