Emotions ran high during Thursday’s sentencing.
The defense called three witnesses to testify to John Louis Blalack’s character, all three ministers.
Suggestions were made that Blalack was weak-minded, had low self-esteem and fell in with the wrong crowd, when he joined in a three month terror spree targeting vulnerable African-Americans.
In an attempt to beg US District Court Judge Henry Wingate for leniency, Blalack’s uncle and Kentucky minister, Bill Wade suggested on the stand that perhaps James Craig Anderson’s death was necessary according to GOD’s will for his nephew’s redemption.
When asked if he felt his comments were offensive to Anderson’s family. Wade replied, “If you understand spiritual things, no sir, not at all. I’m afraid I spoke to people that [don’t] understand spiritual things.”
Anderson’s sister, Barbara Anderson Young couldn’t disagree more. Leaving the courthouse she told me, “That’s absurd! That statement is just absurd. My brother did not die so someone else could prosper!.”
Blalack’s defense team insisted there were no other victims besides Anderson, despite reports of one man dropping to the ground after being knocked in the head with a beer bottle and another, pleading for his life during the three month reign of terror.
Attorney Bob Waller argued that Blalack was merely participating in “malicious mischief” and never intended to hurt anyone”.
He said outside the courthouse, “There was one victim, Mr. Anderson, no other identified victims. I think the sentence was extreme and it doesn’t fit the crime.”
Before it was all said and done, John Louis Blalack would be sentenced to two consecutive 10-year prison terms.
Balack tearfully read a letter of apology expressing his remorse, however Judge Wingate and the Anderson family remain unconvinced.
A relative of Anderson tells me, “I just feel it was a total disregard for human life and especially for minorities.”
Barbara Anderson Young added, “He should’ve gotten more time, but we are so thankful for those 20 years that he will serve.”
Judge Wingate told Blalack that he had earned his sentence saying, “I believe had there not been a camera, you and your gang would’ve come back to ‘Jafrica’ and imposed your will.”
Sentencing for Robert Henry Rice has been continued until next week.