Prison sentence, restitution ordered in tire slashing
On Friday, he learned that the hangover will last for years.
Gaines, 28, pleaded guilty to slashing the tires of 56 cars as he and a female relative stumbled home around 5:30 a.m. on Jan. 7, 2013.
At a roller-coaster of a sentencing hearing, Common Pleas Court Judge Rayford A. Means first sentenced the stunned Gaines to five to 10 years in prison plus 30 years of probation. Then, after Means was told by the defense lawyer that the sentence was excessive, he scaled it back to 111/2 to 23 months in prison followed by the 30 years of probation.
Means also ruled that Gaines could be released to work while serving his prison term.
Pavero had sought a five- to 10-year prison term, arguing that Gaines and codefendant Aleze Lewis, 37, inconvenienced 56 families from a working-class neighborhood.
Because the damage to each vehicle was below the insurance deductible, Pavero said, each victim had to bear out-of-pocket expenses. Pavero said that she had heard back from half the victims and that their damages totaled between $5,000 and $6,000.
"This is the kind of crime that drives people out of the city," Pavero said. "And why? What for?"
Police said Gaines and his accomplice slashed tires on one car after another on Hazel Avenue between 47th and 50th Streets, and on Chancellor Street at 53d Street.
It was defense attorney Geoffrey Kilroy who persuaded Means to reduce his original sentence.
"He came out of a bar drunk and did something stupid," Kilroy said. "It was an inconvenience, yes, but . . . no person was hurt, and no person was threatened."
Kilroy called Gaines a "victim of bad timing" because his case happened eight months after the arrest of David Toledo. Toledo, 46, is accused of slashing dozens of his Mayfair neighbors' tires from January through April 2012 while courting television news cameras as an outraged citizen demanding police action.
Toledo's jury trial begins Monday in Common Pleas Court.
Kilroy said a longer prison term would make it almost impossible for Gaines to pay restitution. Moreover, he said the year that Gaines has spent in prison since his arrest had cost taxpayers $43,520.
Gaines apologized briefly for his conduct and promised to repay the victims, but he did not leave the hearing a happy man.
Means reminded him that his guilty plea and sentence require him to testify for the prosecution at Lewis' trial March 24.
If Gaines fails to cooperate fully with the prosecution, the judge warned him, he will reimpose the original sentence.