August 20, 2013 11:08:09 AM
A former Columbus businessman will be forced to serve a five-year sentence less than five months after being placed on unsupervised probation, a move that sparked a firestorm of criticism.
Alan Redden received the sentence Monday after admitting that he violated his probation by assaulting a child.
In February, Judge Lee Coleman sentenced Redden to five years in prison, but suspended the sentence and placed him on unsupervised probation after being convicted of aggravated assault/domestic violence for beating his wife. Monday, he was back in Lowndes County Circuit Court to face a probation revocation hearing, months after being arrested for assault on a 13-year-old girl.
Although Redden has yet to face those charges, those involved in the incident took the stand during Monday's hearing.
The teen testified that Redden repeatedly called her phone the morning of June 25 trying to reach her mother, Pam Robinson. Robinson and Redden had been in a relationship for several months but had ended their relationship earlier that day.
The girl testified that after Redden called her, she sent him a text message saying she was busy and would call him back. Redden responded that he would "smash" the girl's phone. Shortly after, Redden entered the home and confronted the teen in her bedroom. She testified that he grabbed her face repeatedly, calling her a "piece of s--- kid" and then pushed her down on the bed multiple times when she tried to get up to go to her mother, who was sleeping in another bedroom. She said Redden told her, "If you were my child I would whoop your ass" and accused the teenager of ruining his relationship with her mother. Redden then grabbed the child's phone and threw it on the floor, breaking it into pieces. The girl yelled for her mother who ran into the bedroom and told Redden to leave her home.
During her testimony, Redden, who was sitting at the defense table and wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, repeatedly nodded his head in agreement.
The teenager also had a young friend at the house when the altercation occurred. The young friend testified that the girls were in the victim's bedroom listening to music on an iPhone when Redden came in. Her testimony corroborated her friend's testimony and again, Redden nodded his head in agreement.
Robinson then took the stand and testified that while she did not see the physical altercation between Redden and her daughter, she did see Redden yelling at the child and "letting her have it." Robinson testified she saw the destroyed phone on the floor. The next day, Redden's mother left a blank check at the victim's home to pay for the phone. Redden also sent Robinson text messages asking, "Please don't do this" and, "Please don't send me to prison over a phone."
When asked if Redden had ever exhibited violent behavior before, Robinson testified to one incident where he pulled the teenager by her ponytail and another where he "went ballistic" and yelled at the child.
Before he was sentenced, Redden addressed the court and admitted his guilt. He also asked for leniency.
"Everything I heard today, judge, was really right on the money," he said. "The day that we split up...I stopped by there and didn't think it was going to work. So all that is right, but I never hit her daughter. I just was mad because when I tried to talk to her she wouldn't look at me and so I did -- everything she said was true. And I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I broke her phone, you know? I just acted on anger, but I just wanted to say I'm sorry for the family and I'm sorry to you for all the stuff you've been going through over me, and I just ask your forgiveness and leniency on me. But everything that they said was true."
Coleman asked if Redden had completed his mandatory anger management classes. His attorney Rod Ray said Redden had completed inpatient therapy but had not taken anger management classes.
Ray also asked the court for as much leniency as possible for Redden "under the circumstances."
Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Clemons addressed the court, noting that Redden admitted guilt.
"He has admitted to laying his hands on this child. She is not his child," Clemons said.
Coleman interrupted Clemons and said he was "convinced there has been a violation of terms of condition."
Clemons continued and asked the court to revoke Redden's entire sentence, noting he was given an "incredible opportunity that everyone took a lot of heat for," adding, "He didn't make it six months before he laid his hand on a child."
Coleman then ordered Redden's suspended February sentence be revoked and Redden was escorted out of the courtroom.
Redden's ex-wife, Ginger Redden, the victim of Redden's attack that brought him to court in February, hugged Robinson outside the courtroom. Both women had tears in their eyes.
"Justice has been served," Ginger Redden said, adding that the June incident could have been prevented. "That child should have never been touched."
Speaking of Alan Redden, she said, "He's not well. He's very sick. I hope he gets the treatment he needs."
Ray said his client "feels bad" that he let down so many members of the community that showed their support for him in February. Local pastor Kenny Gardener and businessman Joe Gillis were among many who wrote letters to Coleman on Redden's behalf.
Since Monday's hearing was solely to determine Redden's revocation of probation, he will still appear in Lowndes County Justice Court on the simple assault and malicious mischief charges in connection to the June incident. That court date is set for Tuesday.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
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