Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Robert Gum and Deanna Scaglione Plead Guilty To Federal Charges Of Violating An Alaska Native's Civil Rights In Anchorage

Update September 9th 2010: Robert Gum and Deanna Scaglione sentenced to Federal prison. Updated post HERE.

On June 8th, 2010, the Anchorage Daily News reports that 19-year-old Robert Gum and 21-year-old Deanna Scaglione (previously known as Deanna Powers) pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Anchorage to violating an Alaska Native's civil rights by threatening and harassing him while he walked in downtown Anchorage. The specific charge is "Interference in a Federally-protected activity", considered a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 245(b)(2)(B) and 2. A copy of the indictment is still available HERE. Previous posts on this case available from December 19th, 2009 and August 14th, 2009.

Note: Since this post, Alaska Dispatch has published a detailed account of the courtroom proceedings. It's worth reading.

Prosecutors say Gum and Scaglione found their target, identified as Eddie Barr, during the early morning hours of July 28th, 2009, as he was walking to Bean's Café. They pelted him with eggs, threw a water bottle at him, and shouted racial slurs. At first they pursued him in their car, turning around to toss objects at him again when they missed. Then they got out near C Street and Seventh Avenue and ran after him on foot. The victim tried to flee but the pair chased him. Scaglione was filming the encounter; she eventually uploaded it to YouTube, which proved to be their undoing (although the case wasn't solved until someone called CrimeStoppers and reported the attack). The pair did not break off the attack until they saw a security guard. Barr was not seriously injured and required no hospitalization; he later publicly forgave his attackers.

While Robert Gum is out on bail with a third-party custodian, Deanna Scaglione remains detained. They are scheduled to be sentenced on September 2nd. They each would face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, although it is likely that they'll receive much lighter sentences since they saved us the cost of a trial. There are mitigating circumstances with both individuals; Gum had a rough childhood and actually never learned to read and write, while Scaglione has just been divorced and has a child. My guess is that each will receive no more than two years in prison, with heavy probation thereafter since they haven't the resources to pay a fine.

The pair still face outstanding Alaska state charges of fourth-degree misdemeanor assault and second-degree misdemeanor harassment, carrying a maximum sentence of a year in prison and a fine of $10,000. Alaska prosecutors are awaiting the Federal sentencing outcome before making a decision whether or not to proceed. It would seem redundant for the state to expend its time and resources pressing its own charges now that the Feds have done it for us using their time and resources.

-- Robert Gum's Alaska Court System entry available HERE.
-- Deanna Scaglione's Alaska Court System entry listed under Deanna Powers and available HERE.

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