Valdez man sentenced for assaulting disabled man

Posted: Sunday, February 04, 2001

VALDEZ (AP) -- A Valdez man convicted of assaulting a developmentally disabled client in his care has been sentenced to five years in prison, with two years suspended.

Troy Smith, 36, was convicted at a trial in December of felony assault. The sentence also includes anger management treatment and five years of probation, according to the Valdez Star.

Smith, an employee of Horizons Unlimited, assaulted Erick Simpson on March 2 by slamming the man's head onto a bathroom counter or sink at a group home. Another worker was in the home at the time but did not witness the incident.

Judge Joel Bolger noted that the victim functioned at the level of a 2-year-old and could not express himself.

Smith originally said Simpson had fallen against a handrail, but a doctor and dentist who examined him said the trauma Simpson's jaw could only be caused by blunt force. After police interviewed Smith again, he admitted that he had become frustrated and had slammed Simpson's head into a counter.

Simpson's jaw was broken from the force of the blow and required surgery to screw his fractured jaw back together.

In brief remarks before sentencing, Smith said he regretted that he cannot work well with people.

''My mind races ahead and I don't compose my thoughts well,'' he said.

The case accelerated a state investigation into Horizons Unlimited. The company's executive director resigned and it merged with Frontier Community Services of Soldotna, which is now providing support services to disabled people in Valdez.

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