Dan Springer, La Crosse Tribune (Wisc.), Dec. 16, 2005
“That’s all this is — racism,” Deborah West screamed as La Crosse County Circuit Judge Michael Mulroy announced he planned to hand down the maximum sentence to Troy E. West Jr.
The 16-year-old from Onalaska, Wis., had been convicted of third-degree sexual assault for his role in the gang rape of a girl at a North Side home in February.
But from her seat in the courtroom Thursday, Deborah West shouted that the five years in prison was because her son is black — as are the other three men convicted in the case — and the girl is white.
“I’ve sat here listening to this long enough. You’re up there saying all kinds of things about my son,” she yelled at Mulroy and Assistant District Attorney Tim Gruenke, drawing a chorus of support from others in the crowd. “You’re up there accusing my child of being a gangbanger. He’s not. He’s a good kid.”
She eventually was escorted out of the courtroom.
Mulroy then denied race had any role in his decision, saying had the four been white and the victim black, the sentence would be the same.
According to court records, West brought the girl, then 16, to Lopez’s house Feb. 5 and took her into a dark bedroom, where she was sexually assaulted by the four males.