PROVO -- Mark Davis couldn't read the statement he wrote Thursday for the sentencing of his brother, Charles Davis.
The two men met in court a year and a half after a brutal altercation on Center Street in Provo that left Mark with severe brain injuries. In February, a jury convicted Charles of aggravated assault, a second-degree felony, for beating Mark with an ax handle during the incident. Prosecutor Craig Johnson said Thursday that Mark survived only "through the grace of God and 10 hours of life-saving surgeries," and as Mark spoke slowly he apologized that the incident left him unable to read his remarks.
Thursday's hearing concluded when Judge Laycock sentenced Charles to one to 15 years in prison. Laycock denied a request by Charles's attorney to give him a reasonable amount of time before reporting to prison, and pair of sheriff's deputies led Charles away as he quickly pulled off his gold wedding ring.
The sentence denied defense attorney Tom Means's request that Charles receive only jail time and probation for the attack. Means argued that Charles had a low risk of re-offending, had engaged in counseling and would pay restitution.
Charles also delivered his own lengthy speech in court. During his remarks, Charles said he regretted not acting differently during the altercation.
"It's hard to admit you're wrong but the way I acted was wrong," he told the court.
During Charles's trial, witnesses testified that the incident stemmed from a dispute over a trailer. Mark showed up at Charles's home with a "stick" or shovel handle, and Charles met him in the yard with his own handle. The two men argued in the yard and Charles finally hit Mark in the head. Charles has consistently argued that he acted in self defense and Mark's injuries left him unable to remember the event.
During Thursday's hearing, Mark's wife told the court that the injures have permanently disabled her husband. Mark can no longer work, and feels like he "aged 30 years."
"My husband has a life sentence," she said before asking that Charles receive a prison sentence.
Craig Johnson later added that the incident nearly became a murder case. Johnson opposed Means's request for jail and probation.
Laycock sided with Johnson, though she pointed out that the sentence wouldn't close the "immense ravine" separating the brothers' family.
"No matter what I do today I can't heal this family," Laycock said.
Laycock went on to describe the case as "heartbreaking" and noted the massive physical and financial damage Charles had caused.
Laycock also said Charles would have to pay restitution. She initially followed a recommendation in a pre-sentence report ordering Charles to pay $234,000, but later agreed to give attorneys more time to set a more appropriate sum.