The fourth white supremacist arrested and convicted for his role in an attack on a 20-year-old African American man during the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville was sentenced Tuesday to a little more than two years in prison.
Tyler Watkins Davis, 51, of Middleburg, Fla., had entered an Alford plea in February on a malicious wounding charge in the vicious — and widely seen — beating of DeAndre Harris, a former special education instructional assistant.
The guilty plea meant that Davis, who belonged to the extremist group League of the South, acknowledged prosecutors had sufficient evidence to convict him if the case had gone to trial. Even though Davis’s assault on Harris likely resulted in Harris’ worst injury, he was given the least amount of time behind bars — two years and one month — compared to the three other defendants already sentenced in the case.
Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Richard E. Moore said he gave Harris the lighter punishment because he only hit Harris once, as opposed to the other assailants who stomped or struck Harris multiple times.
But Moore did not hold back in rebuking Davis. The judge said Davis had no reason to strike Harris with a stick and could have easily just walked away from the melee. Although Davis only hit Harris one time, it was a blow that tore a gash in his skull that ultimately needed eight staples.
“This is one of the most disturbing and saddest videos I’ve seen in my entire life,” Moore said. He said that when Harris tried escaping from the attack, he “looked like a frightened, terrorized animal.”
“DeAndre Harris could have easily died,” the judge said.
Davis’ sentencing capped more than a year’s worth of prosecutions for the Harris attack, which was captured on video and spread virally across the Internet. Jacob S. Goodwin, of Arkansas, who wore a body-length shield and military helmet while kicking Harris on the ground, got an eight-year sentence; Alex Michael Ramos, of Georgia, received six years; and Daniel Borden, of Ohio, was sentenced to nearly four years.
Should have stood all four of them in front of a firing squad.