Son arrested at father's sentencing hearing

2013-01-04T16:00:00Z 2013-01-06T00:41:04Z Son arrested at father's sentencing hearingHeather Augustyn Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
January 04, 2013 4:00 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | A South Haven man was sentenced to five years in prison Friday for bashing his brother-in-law’s head with a TV, while his son was taken into custody just outside the courtroom for his alleged role in the crime.

William Smith, 49, of South Haven, was sentenced by Judge William Alexa for the March 2010 beating at a Liberty Township motel.

His son, David Smith, 29, of South Haven, was charged with impersonating a police officer, a Class D felony, for his role in the incident that led to his father’s imprisonment.

David Smith testified during his father’s sentencing hearing on Friday that he, not his father, had purchased a GPS tracking unit, and placed it in a bag in the car of his mother, Cora Smith.

He testified he and his girlfriend then went to Hammond with his father for a night of drinking, in spite of being on probation. Upon returning home, he tracked the GPS device to find his mother at the El Kay Motel, 53 W. U.S. 6, with a car determined to be that of Myron Burton, William Smith’s brother-in-law and best friend.

David Smith said he and his girlfriend accompanied his father to the hotel where he knocked on his mother’s room door and identified himself as the Valparaiso Police Department, "because I knew she’d open the door."

This statement resulted in David Smith’s arrest Friday morning and he was not present while his father received his sentence.

William Smith’s attorney, Larry Rogers, described the incident as a “brouhaha chorus,” but Porter County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tammy Gregg said the crime resulted in dislocation to Cora Smith’s arm, beating Myron Burton until he was unconscious on the floor, and throwing a large “old-fashioned” television set on his head so he required surgery for a near-fatal brain injury.

William Smith’s sister and Myron Burton’s now ex-wife, Barbara Burton, testified her brother was a good man who helped others, but was surprised by the affair.

Rogers argued “the moral of the story is, don’t sleep with your best friend’s wife and don’t get caught and if you’re on the other end of that, don’t beat the hell out of them,” and he asked for the judge to be lenient since his client was determined to be a low-risk to reoffend.

Alexa ruled that William Smith’s actions were “unacceptable in our society” before handing down the sentence.

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