17-year sentence: Alcoa man gets prison for domestic violence incident
By Iva Butler | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
An Alcoa man was sentenced to 17 years in prison Thursday for domestic violence against his wife and two daughters.
Herbert Benjamin Ward, 42, Grayson Drive, was sentenced by Blount County Circuit Court Judge David R. Duggan.
A Blount Court jury on June 24 found Ward guilty of the felony offenses of especially aggravated kidnapping and aggravated kidnapping and the misdemeanor offense of domestic violence with aggravated assault.
The crimes resulted from a May 31, 2009, incident in which Ward kept his wife and then 11- and 2-year-old daughters from leaving their Grayson Apartment, telling them he would kill them if they attempted to leave. They were also prohibited from using the phone.
Blount County Assistant District Attorney General Ellen Berez said Ward “has an extensive, long criminal history.”
Over a 21-year period, from 1987 to 2008, he was either was found guilty or pleaded to 25 offenses. Included in these were four for driving under the influence of an intoxicant, driving on a revoked license and theft of $10,000.
Berez noted that Ward wrote his wife a letter from jail, which Berez intercepted, asking her to sneak contraband Xanax pills and tobacco into the jail to him.
Ward said he blamed Berez for his conviction, accusing her of manipulating the system. “I was railroaded all the way,” he told the court. Ward said Berez is responsible for his daughters being in foster care.
At his sentencing hearing, Ward threw himself “on the mercy of the court. I don’t want to go to prison.”
He admitted putting his hands on his wife for five seconds, but denied kidnapping anyone.
Ward said his parents were alcoholics and his father, a drill sergeant in the Army, beat him.
“I was abused badly and I made sure my kids were never treated that way,” he said.
His court-appointed attorney Charles Carpenter said Ward did not seriously hurt anyone and did not point a gun or knife on either his wife or daughters.
“He does not have a particularly bad criminal history. He caused no harm to human life,” Carpenter said. “It was not a heinous offense.”
He accused Ward’s now 13-year-old daughter of being very smart and manipulative, wanting her father out of the house.
Berez said the daughter was compelling, honest and disturbed about the situation.
Duggan said under the regulations of the General Assembly, Ward had to be sentenced to 15 to 22 years for especially aggravated kidnapping, a Class A felony, and 8 to 12 years for aggravated kidnapping, a Class B felony.
“This is a mandatory 100 percent-to-serve sentence, according to the General Assembly,” he said.
Carpenter asked the judge to sentence Ward at the lower range of the allowable years and that they be served concurrently.
Berez asked that the sentences be served consecutively.
Duggan sentenced Ward to 17 years for especially aggravated kidnapping, 9 years for aggravated kidnapping and 11 months and 29 days for the misdemeanor of domestic violence with aggravated assault. He ruled that the sentences be served concurrently.
Ward will get credit for jail time. He has been in Blount County Jail since his arrest May 31, 2009.