May 3—An East Toledo man set to take his case before a jury this week opted to take a plea agreement Monday for severely beating a woman to the point of blindness last year.
Deandre Hereford, 36, of the 550 block of Arden Place, entered an Alford plea — not admitting guilt, but conceding sufficient evidence exists for a conviction — to domestic violence, a third-degree felony, and kidnapping, a first-degree felony, for the physical and sexual assault June 13 and 14 of a woman who had previously lived with him.
Judge Linda Jennings immediately sentenced Hereford to an agreed-upon indefinite term of 7 to 10 1/2 years in prison, though he faced up to 19 1/2 years behind bars on the two charges.
"You caused this victim serious physical harm. She underwent a severe beating at your hands," Judge Jennings told Hereford. "Not only did she suffer physical harm at the time but this will have long-lasting effects on her."
Prosecutors said Hereford approached the victim near Nevada Street and Arden Place on June 13 and forced her into his home at knifepoint. Once inside, trial evidence would have shown that Hereford choked and beat the woman and sexually assaulted her over the course of several hours, Dexter Phillips, an assistant county prosecutor, said Monday.
The victim escaped the house after Hereford left, and a neighbor saw her staggering along the street, calling for help, prosecutors said.
Both of her eyes were swollen shut and she sustained bruising and swelling on her neck, arms, and back. She was left completely blind in her left eye and partially blind in the right, Mr. Phillips said.
Hereford was on probation for an assault conviction at the time of the assault, and had been previously convicted of two misdemeanor offenses of domestic violence charges. Under the plea agreement, additional charges of felonious assault, kidnapping, and rape were dismissed.
Marty Dow, Hereford's defense lawyer, said his client changed his plea Monday because of the risk of conviction at trial, which could have led to a 36-year prison sentence.
"Even though I'm being falsely convicted and accused, it's really not much I can do," Hereford said in court. "I do plan on getting out and being a better person."
The victim was not present during Monday's proceedings.
First Published May 3, 2021, 3:43pm