For the vicious beating of a neighbor following a dispute over alleged stolen money, two Waldorf men were sentenced to 18 and 13 years incarceration Wednesday in Charles County Circuit Court.
Emanuel Malik Anthony Nugent, 22, received the 18-year sentence and 27-year-old Catrell Beshaun Yates received 13 years. Both pleaded guilty to first-degree assault this year. Nugent and Yates were both charged with attempted first- and second-degree murder, armed robbery, kidnapping and false imprisonment, along with other offenses.
Nugent’s case was called first before Judge Amy J. Bragunier, with Assistant State’s Attorney John Stackhouse and defense attorney Richard Finci representing the respective parties. Stackhouse said the victim of the beating, Timothy Dalton, lived in Waldorf’s Forest Park neighborhood for 10 years prior to the assault. Stackhouse said that Dalton, a mechanic by trade, was friends with Nugent.
On Aug. 30, 2018, Stackhouse said, Dalton was working on installing a new engine in Nugent’s Honda Civic. Dalton was back at his house after working all day at Nugent’s when Nugent and Yates came to confront him. Money that had been in Nugent’s mother’s minivan was missing, Stackhouse said, and Nugent thought Dalton was the culprit.
Together, Stackhouse said, Nugent and Yates dragged Dalton from his home and took him to Nugent’s home. Dalton maintained his innocence, and in turn the two men “viciously beat him,” Stackhouse said. Nugent hit Dalton all over his body with a large metal jack pole, and both men “punch[ed], kicked and stomped” him.
At one point, Stackhouse said, Nugent gave Dalton an unsettling command: “I don’t want my neighbors seeing me kill you. Get in the garage.”
Dalton was hospitalized for several weeks, Stackhouse said, and suffered permanent injuries. The attack collapsed one of Dalton’s lungs, and he has facial scarring from being stabbed in the face. Dalton said that the mental anguish has been just as bad as the physical injuries, and said he’s had recurring nightmares for more than a year since the incident.
“I fought with everything I had not to get taken into that garage,” Dalton said. “I never went back to my home after that day. I completely rearranged my life because of this.”
Dalton asked Bragunier to sentence Nugent to 25 years, the maximum penalty under the law for first-degree assault. “The way I was beaten, they had no regard for my life at all,” Dalton said.
Stackhouse said Nugent had already benefited from receiving a “very good disposition” by being allowed to plead to assault when faced with attempted murder.
“The damage done is unbelievable,” Stackhouse said. “I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’ll never understand how people can victimize other people like this. The harm in this case is just too much. Some cases are that bad. This was one of them.”
Finci said that since the incident, Nugent has “done nothing but express remorse.” He pointed to measures his client has taken while awaiting sentencing to better himself, including seeking substance abuse treatment and cooperating fully with the terms of his house arrest and electronic monitoring while awaiting sentencing.
Finci argued a “low end sentence” for Nugent would be most appropriate, given his previous lack of violent behavior and limited criminal history, along with his stated willingness to testify against his co-defendant.
Nugent also spoke for himself, reading a letter that opened with an apology for his “lack of judgment” that day that led to “a misrepresentation of who I truly am.” When he read the apology, he turned to face Dalton and his mother and fiancee directly.
“I had no right to put my hands on that man,” Nugent said. “I wish I had disengaged and walked away. ... I failed to check myself. One instant placed my whole life on hold.”
After Nugent’s sentence had been handed down, he implored his family to “stay strong for me” as he was led from the courtroom. A small skirmish between Dalton’s and Nugent’s families in the hallway outside the courtroom created a temporary disruption as courthouse security worked to soothe the flaring tempers and separate the parties.
Stackhouse said he would not ask for a 25-year sentence for Yates, as it was “not fair” since Nugent didn’t receive that amount of time. Further, Stackhouse said, the evidence supports that Nugent was the more savage participant in the beating.
Like Nugent, Stackhouse said, Yates had enjoyed “a huge break” from the state with the agreement not to prosecute the other, more severe charges he was facing.
Yates’ involvement, Stackhouse said, “is even worse, almost, because he had no beef [with Dalton]. He just interjected himself in it.” Yates’ attorney, public defender Zain Shirazi, said that wasn’t quite an accurate characterization of Dalton and Yates’ prior relationship.
“There was some beef for a while before this incident,” Shirazi said, which he noted some neighbors had corroborated. Shirazi contended that some of what Dalton said about his client was untrue. The stab wound, Shirazi said, was also new information that Dalton hadn’t mentioned during the police investigation or at all prior to the sentencing hearing.
“[Yates] certainly does not deserve an above-guidelines sentence,” Shirazi said. “What should not occur is him being punished for something he didn’t do.”
Like Nugent, Yates faced Dalton to apologize and remained facing the man and his family through much of his statement.
“I’m man enough to take responsibility for my actions,” Yates said. “I was really wrong. I’m upset with myself for letting anger get the best of me.”