Librarian Randomly Beaten in Downtown Cincinnati. Man Sentenced Can’t Explain Why

Kevin Grasha, USA TODAY, January 11, 2018

The May 15, 2017 beating of a man near Downtown’s Main Library was a random attack, prosecutors said. The victim didn’t do anything to provoke it. Two of the attackers in the video are serving prison sentences.

John Watts was several minutes into his sentencing Thursday when the judge asked him why he tackled a man at random, then participated in a beating so violent the judge wasn’t able to watch the entire video.

“I just attacked him,” the 20-year-old Watts said.

“Why did this happen?” Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Jody Luebbers asked.

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“I don’t know how to explain it,” he said.

Watts is the second man convicted in the May 15, 2017 attack near Downtown’s Main Library. Luebbers sentenced Watts to seven years in prison. He pleaded guilty last month to felonious assault.

In September, Johntae Dearmond pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and was sentenced to nine years. Dearmond, now 21, blamed the attack on “intoxication.”

On Thursday, Watts’ attorney, Doug Nicholas, said alcohol and peer pressure led to what happened. Court documents describe a third, unidentified attacker.

The victim, a librarian in his 40s, was walking near the library shortly after midnight when Watts, Dearmond and the third person approached him. A fourth person served as a lookout, court documents say.

They asked the librarian for a cigarette. Then the attack began. It was Watts who tackled him to the sidewalk, Assistant Prosecutor Allison Oswall said Thursday.

The man was struck about 50 times. He was kicked in the face. The attack lasted about a minute. He suffered internal brain bleeding. Blood came out of his ear. Dearmond can be seen taking the man’s cellphone.

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