Brian Cloninger, 48, from Dallas, Texas, has been sentenced to 45 years in prison for shooting an 8-year-old boy in the face.
In 2013, Cloninger went to the apartment complex where now 9-year-old Donald Maiden Jr. lived and shot the child while he was playing outside. Cloninger claimed in court he did not mean to harm Donald, and that he was at the apartment complex seeking the services of a transsexual prostitute for a massage, Inquisitr reports.
The drugs and alcohol Cloninger had consumed he claimed caused his behavior and made it so that he did not remember wounding Donald. A psychiatrist testified that is was possible drugs and alcohol affected Cloninger’s memory.
Cloninger waived his right to a trial by jury, choosing a bench trial instead.
“I apologize,” Cloninger said at the sentencing hearing. “I hope the family can forgive me."
The defense had hoped for a minimum sentence of five years, claiming that Cloninger was a good man who had made a stupid decision while under the influence, FOX 4 News reports. According to Cloninger’s father, his son had hoped to return to work and pay restitution to Donald.
The prosecution sought the maximum time allowed, 50 years. The judge did not comment on why he chose a 45-year sentence.
The bullet wound to the face caused Donald to lose the entire bottom portion of his jaw and all of his teeth except for one. He will be permanently disfigured.
Donald’s grandmother, Sharon Locklin, said the emotional damage he has suffered may be greater than the physical.
"He's afraid of any white man that comes near him, and we teach him you know everybody's not bad," Locklin said.
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