William Steele Jr: guilty of aggravated malicious wounding

William Steele Jr: guilty of aggravated malicious wounding

This is a discussion on William Steele Jr: guilty of aggravated malicious wounding within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Follow up on thread "Good news in a bad situation." In May I posted about the recovery that Officer Bryan Lawrence was making. In July, ...

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  1. #1
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    William Steele Jr: guilty of aggravated malicious wounding

    Follow up on thread "Good news in a bad situation."

    In May I posted about the recovery that Officer Bryan Lawrence was making.

    In July, about the direct indictment of William Steele Jr.

    Guilty -- maximum possible sentence of life in prison

    Teen guilty in attack on off-duty officer Bryan Lawrence
    In May 2008, William Steele Jr. assaulted Officer Bryan Lawrence, breaking his neck and leaving him permanently disabled.
    By Mike Allen
    981-3236

    Roanoke police Officer Bryan Lawrence lay on his back in the street, his neck and shoulders radiating agony. Over his police radio a dispatcher called his unit number. "What's your location?"

    Just seconds before, Lawrence had a suspect pinned on the ground. He had his knee in the man's back and had grabbed the man's right arm with both his hands in order to put handcuffs on him.

    Then he felt a sharp pain in his neck and fell backward. As his attacker and the suspect ran off, the dispatcher kept calling: "162, what's your location? 162, can you advise on location? Unit 162, can you advise on location?"

    Lawrence could see his microphone, lying near his hand, but he couldn't answer, because he couldn't move his arm. Below his shoulders, he felt nothing.

    Wednesday, after hearing testimony from Lawrence in Roanoke Circuit Court, Judge Clifford Weckstein found William Steele Jr. guilty of aggravated malicious wounding in the assault that broke the officer's neck, injured his spinal cord and left him permanently disabled.

    In finding Steele guilty, Weckstein mentioned how the 18-year-old had kicked Lawrence in the face so hard that the shoe print still showed on the officer's forehead a day later.

    At his sentencing, scheduled for March 23, the 18-year-old faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.

    Dantonio Terrell Foster Sr., the friend whom Steele helped escape by attacking Lawrence, has a sentencing scheduled for Wednesday for the incident that led to the assault. Prosecutors have said they will ask that Foster, 25, be ordered to serve up to 3 1/2 years in prison.

    "Nobody won," Lawrence said after Steele's trial ended. He said that he would likely never be able to walk again, and that his wife, Brenda, is physically and mentally exhausted from the long hours she spends caring for him. As he spoke, his wife wept and interjected how it's hard for her husband to even stay well enough to continue his physical therapy. Lawrence said he's been repeatedly hospitalized since the attack.

    As for Steele, he said, "We forgive him for what he's done, but still he has to pay the price for what the law has set for him."

    Before the trial began, Lawrence waited outside in a wheelchair, but he came into the courtroom on his feet, moving slowly, leaning on a walker as his wife, son and a family friend helped him stay upright.

    Steele responded "not guilty" when the clerk asked him for his plea. But as the judge finished asking him questions about his plea, Steele turned toward Lawrence and the uniformed police officers who filled the benches on the prosecution's side of the courtroom.

    "I'm sorry," he said. "I didn't intend to hurt that man."

    Weckstein stopped him and cautioned that anything he said could be used against him during the trial.

    Steele's attorney, Jimmy Turk, said that he did not dispute the prosecution's version of events. He said Steele admits that he kicked Lawrence in the head that night. Turk said he would argue that Steele was guilty of assaulting Lawrence, but that he had no malicious intent when he attacked.

    "You are going to find him guilty of something," Turk told Weckstein. "I'm going to argue that he's guilty of unlawful wounding and not malicious wounding."

    Lawrence testified about the attack and the events that led up to it. The night of May 10, as he was working off-duty in full uniform at Berglund Chevrolet on Williamson Road, he heard a call about an assault on a woman at the nearby Go Mart. He went looking for the suspect, a man in an orange-and-white striped shirt, and found Foster, who matched the description and was walking along Huntington Boulevard Northwest with Steele.

    Foster let Lawrence see his identification. When word came back on Lawrence's police radio that Foster was the suspect, Foster ran. Lawrence radioed in "Foot pursuit!" and gave chase. Foster tripped and Lawrence caught up with him, pinning him to the ground and grabbing his arm to cuff him. That's when Steele attacked him.

    Turk asked Lawrence whether Steele had made any threatening remarks to him before or after the assault. Lawrence said he had not.

    According to testimony, Foster and Steele were both arrested soon after. Steele was pulled off a fence by a police dog as he tried to climb over it.

    Steele took the stand in his own defense, saying that he had wanted to help Foster but that he never intended to do lasting harm to Lawrence. He said that when he kicked at Lawrence, he wasn't aiming for the officer's head, and he insisted the kick was more of a "push."

    He again turned to face Lawrence and his family and repeatedly apologized. "I'm not trying to pull no bull over nobody's face," he said. "I'm sorry."

    Turk argued that while Steele had unquestionably committed a crime, when he struck he had no intention to maim, disfigure, disable or kill. "What he really wanted to do was to free Mr. Foster," Turk said. The attorney emphasized that Steele struck only once, then ran.

    But Assistant Roanoke Commonwealth's Attorney Bill Braxton countered that Lawrence did nothing to provoke Steele and had no warning of the attack.

    "It's a kick to the face with a shoe. It's a brutal attack," he said. "To escape, the defendant has to put Bryan Lawrence down to stay down."

    Weckstein, in making his ruling, agreed with Braxton on every point, noting that under Virginia law, deliberately interfering with a lawful arrest is considered malice.
    Radio traffic between emergency dispatchers and police officers on the night of Officer Bryan Lawrence's attack can be heard at site provided above. Also some pictures. The heart wrenching shows former robust Officer Lawrence struggling to walk with a walker and a strap to hold him upright.

    The only good side to the mess has been the community support for officer Lawrence -- fund-raisers from school children to bikers, from Churches to bars.
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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    That is all kinds of wrong.

    No human being should be subject to this.
    Wrong.

    - Janq
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    Thumbs up Good LTE

    Officer's assailant should pay for the crime he committed - Roanoke.com

    (Top of the bunch)


    Officer's assailant should pay for the crime he committed

    Re: "Teen guilty in attack on off-duty officer," Feb. 5 news story:

    I find it rather absurd William Steele Jr.'s attorney would argue that his client had no intention of maliciously wounding Roanoke City Police Officer Bryan Lawrence when Steele kicked him in the back of the head while Lawrence was apprehending the other party involved, then left the scene with the officer unconscious and injured.

    If I were to kick another human being in the back of the head/neck, I would be intending to inflict bodily harm, malicious or not. The act in itself is malicious, and this thug should be held accountable.

    It is sad that a young person such as this is willing to perform such a heinous act on another human. Steele should be held accountable for his actions to the fullest extent of the law. This will hopefully send a message to others like Steele, with little to no respect for law enforcement or right and wrong.

    JEFFREY CAMPBELL
    ROANOKE
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    I'm just one root in a grassroots organization. No one should assume that I speak for the VCDL.

    I am neither an attorney-at-law nor I do play one on television or on the internet. No one should assumes my opinion is legal advice.

    Veni, Vidi, Velcro

  4. #4
    Distinguished Member Array Reborn's Avatar
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    My prayers for the officer and his family. Justice will come for the attacker.......
    Psalms 144:1
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    I have a spinal cord injury similar to that officers, I can walk with a cane short distances but I have chronic lower back and arm pain.He will never be 100% again and will have to make numerous adjustments to have a decent life.I hope the perp gets life in prison,he has full use of his arms and legs and no doctor visits and painfull Physical Rehab for months maybe years,regardless of his intentions the end result is the consequence of his actions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post
    I have a spinal cord injury similar to that officers, I can walk with a cane short distances but I have chronic lower back and arm pain.He will never be 100% again and will have to make numerous adjustments to have a decent life.I hope the perp gets life in prison,he has full use of his arms and legs and no doctor visits and painfull Physical Rehab for months maybe years,regardless of his intentions the end result is the consequence of his actions.
    +1. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. This young man's road is paved with his intentions (which were no good, despite his arguments to the contrary).

    I am not sure that people ever get charged with their intentions (i.e., thoughts-at least not yet-the Libss seem to be working on that). It is their actions and the results thereof that seem to be the target of DAs.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliott

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    He deserves life in prison, maybe someone will break his neck...
    For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the son of man be. Mathew 24:27

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    Quote Originally Posted by rottkeeper View Post
    He deserves life in prison, maybe someone will break his neck...
    Among other things !!!
    The first rule of a gunfight: "Don't be there !"
    The second rule: "Bring enough gun"

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    VIP Member Array grady's Avatar
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    Makes me sick.

    Quote Originally Posted by rottkeeper View Post
    He deserves life in prison, maybe someone will break his neck...
    Sounds fair to me.

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