Today was the sentencing part of the trial of John Haley, who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in October for pushing Du Doan into the waters of Montrose Harbor while the elderly man fished. Court advocates from the 23rd District and from the Asian American Institute attended the sentencing and this is what we heard from one of them:
"Today was a really emotional day in court. It started with several witnesses who testified as to prior crimes John Haley had committed: A guitar teacher who was jumped from behind and kicked and beaten in 2000; a CPD detective who found cocaine, $2300 in cash, marijuana and lots of pills on Haley in 2001; and someone who was beaten nearly to death by Haley and his friends (using 40 oz beer bottles and barbells) at a party in 2005 when he objected to their racism.
Then the Doan family made victim impact statements. One daughter read hers and said that while no one was a winner in this, at least Haley's family could get to see him, and all her family could see was her father's headstone, and empty chair at the dinner table. Another daughter talked about the stress of having to go through the funeral and trial, and how it had affected her schooling and the family's financial health. A son told about his father's life: he had fought along side American soldiers in Vietnam and survived bullet wounds. When the war was over, he had no choice but to come to America and set up a life here, even though he spoke no English. He left his wife and son in Vietnam until he could afford to send for them. He survived all this, only to drown after being pushed into the water by John Haley.
Then Haley's family spoke on his behalf. You could see that they were suffering, too. His mother said his father had been an alcoholic and that John followed in his footsteps. She spoke of what a different person he became after he stopped drinking, right after the death of Mr. Doan, and how she felt she finally had her son back. Haley's wife spoke of the difference in him now, how devoted he was to his infant son and how he takes care of him. His going to prison has put his family in dire financial straits and she doesn't know how she'll afford to raise their son without John's income. They all apologized to the Doan family, and in his statement, John did too.
The big question was whether the drug conviction should extend the penalty for involuntary manslaughter from 1-5 years to 2-10 years. Judge Kirby decided that it should, and cited the testimony from the trial phase where other fishermen had been pushed into the water by Haley in the weeks prior to Mr. Doan's drowning. He also said that Haley was "the epitome of a coward" because he attacked from behind.
The judge said that due to the cowardly nature of the attacks, including the two testimonies today, he would give the maximum extended sentence of ten years in prison, the most he could, minus time served.
It was a sad day. No one "won." Both families have been suffering since the attack. Just a tragedy, all around, for no good reason."
Update: Read about it in the Tribune and Sun-Times. Another Sun-Times article is here.