A Mobile man will not go to prison for his part in a mob that badly beat his neighbor.
47-year-old Terry Rawls was sentenced to three years supervised release for the April 2012 attack on Matthew Owens.
“You don’t go to prison, and that was the resolution we were looking for, and we’re very pleased with that,” said Dennis Knizley, Owens’ attorney.
Witnesses say in April 2012, Owens shouted racial slurs at some neighborhood children playing in, and possibly stealing items from, his yard on Delmar Drive, off Pleasant Valley Road. A number of people then assaulted Owens with lawn furniture, paint cans, and other objects.
“Mr. Rawls admits he was there, that he was in the group, but he does not admit that he the primary participant in inflicting the injuries,” said Knizley.
Knizley says Owens “sparked” the incident by yelling racial slurs at the children. There were also statements made to police that someone in the mob that assaulted Owens referenced payback for Trayvon Martin – the Florida teen had been shot and killed in a racially charged incident two months earlier. Knizley says that’s nonsense
“The Trevon Martin thing I don’t think had anything to do with the case whatsoever,” he said.
Knizley says Rawls and Owens had gotten into a fight a year earlier and that their dislike for each other was personal, not racial.
Owens still lives on Delmar Drive. Prosecutors say he has little memory of the incident due to the head injuries he suffered. They say he was pleased with today’s sentence.
A judge ordered Rawls to pay for Owens medical bills. They are in the $30,000 range.
Knizley says Rawls has previously served time in prison on assault and burglary charges.