On Sept. 12, 2012, 17-year-old Jesse Jean Smithers of Sauk Rapids, Minn., got out of a car and in an unprovoked manner, delivered a “knockout game” punch to St. Cloud State University student, 20-year-old student Colton Gleason. Gleason subsequently died as a result of that fatal, cowardly attack.
On Feb. 6, in a Stearns County courtroom, Smithers, now 18, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his deadly knockout punch, according to CBS News.
Smithers, who was traveling in a car with about seven cohorts that fateful Sept. evening, had changed his plea from not guilty to second-degree murder back in Nov. 2013.
The victim’s father, John Gleason, said that “the pain, bitterness and hurt his family feels did not go away with the sentencing of the man responsible for his son’s death.”
“We’ve been given a life sentence by this cowardice attack and murder of our son,” John said. “He’ll serve very few short years and he’ll be back out again, and our son is gone forever.”
“This group was out there and their intentions were very clear. This is unprovoked. They stopped and they saw someone they thought they could victimize,” he said. “Colton didn’t have a chance to even turn and defend himself when somebody blind-sided punched him.”
At his sentencing hearing on Thursday, Smithers apologized for delivering that fatal knockout punch, and referred to it as a “complete accident.”
The victim’s mom, Julie Gleason, didn’t buy Smithers’ apology – or the fact that it was an accidental punch.
“Somebody didn’t just run over and hit a car and provoke an attack,” said the still heartbroken mother. “This was an attack that was meant to happen.”
“He was just fun to be with all time, and he was always hugging and telling everyone he loved them,” she said.
If Smithers keeps his nose clean in prison, he could be free in five years.
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