WEST CHESTER, Pa. – A man who was caught on video sucker-punching a man with cerebral palsy outside a store was sentenced to three to six years in prison.
A tearful Barry Robert Baker Jr. asked the judge for leniency during Wednesday’s sentencing, saying he wanted to rebuild his life.
“I want this behind me,” Baker, 29, told Common Pleas Judge William P. Mahon, according to The Delaware County Times . “I want my life back. This will affect me for the rest of my life.”
The judge would have none of it.
“You are a bully,” the judge said. “You are a predator. You are a coward. In 18 years on the bench I have never had such tangible evidence of someone’s moral compass being so askew.”
The judge cited the nature of Baker’s crime and what he called the disrespect Baker had shown for the court by fleeing from apprehension and a being untruthful about the matter.
Baker’s sentence far outweighed the sentence recommended in state guidelines: between three and 14 months of incarceration for the assault and probation to six months for the flight.
Baker’s defense attorney, Thomas Purl, pointed out that Baker had been raised in a dysfunctional home, where his mother died of a drug overdose and his father continued a life of substance abuse. He said that Baker was drunk the night of the punch at 7-Eleven and had mistaken victim Michael Patrick Ryan for someone with whom he had an altercation earlier.
“My client is very remorseful,” Purl said. “He doesn’t go around hitting people. He’s had a very traumatized time.”
Ryan, 22, has not spoken publicly about the attack. He was seated in the courtroom with his mother on Wednesday but did not speak during the proceeding and declined to comment afterward.
Cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder caused by brain damage or a developmental issue, affects body movement and muscle coordination. It can impair people’s reflexes, posture, balance and speech.