By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer
A Madison County man was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison for assault and unlawful imprisonment despite pleas for probation from his girlfriend, a victim in the case, and his mother.
Brandon S. Crowder, 32, was arrested April 30 after Kentucky State Police received a call about a woman who had been assaulted by her boyfriend on Cedar Hill Drive.
When police arrived, they found that Crowder had doused himself in diesel fuel and threatened to set himself on fire, the KSP reported. Crowder eventually dropped the lighter he was holding, and Madison County firefighters sprayed him with water to remove the diesel fuel.
His girlfriend, Mary Riley, stood before Judge William Clouse in Madison Circuit Court and pleaded for probation, stating that Crowder was finally getting help for his drug addiction and had started turning his life around.
“Jail’s not going to help him,” Riley said. “... He hurt me, but he’s sorry.”
Riley was treated for the injuries inflicted by Crowder at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, according to the KSP.
“He hurt me and I love him,” Riley told the judge.
Crowder’s other victim that day was his sister, Heather Crutcher. She and Crowder’s mother, who also pleaded for a probated sentence, also stood before the judge during Crowder’s sentencing hearing.
Assistant Common-wealth’s Attorney Paco Villalobos argued against probation.
“I don’t think probation is appropriate,” Villalobos said.
The attorney pointed out that Crowder has numerous misdemeanor and assault convictions on his criminal record. He said Crowder assaulted the two women throughout the day April 30 and locked them up in their own home.
Clouse spoke at length about the case, allowing the women to speak several times in support of Crowder.
“It’s important we draw certain lines in this community,” Clouse said. “... We can’t have grown men abusing anyone who is weaker than him.”
Clouse said if Crowder has indeed shown signs of changing and accepting the responsibilities of being a man, “he can do that from any position,” including prison.
“If you abuse someone weaker than you, there is a consequence,” Crowder said.
Clouse also told Crowder that he should be thankful the women had “gone to bat for you.”
“You’ll be out (of prison) someday, and I hope you’ll show the same love and respect for them,” Clouse said.
After sentencing Crowder to the five years in prison recommended by the assistant commonwealth’s attorney in the plea deal, the judge expressed misgivings whether Crowder, who has had multiple felony convictions, would stay clear of the law.
“I wish I could be confident he won’t harm anyone else, but I’m not confident looking at his record,” Clouse said.
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6694.