UNIONTOWN, Pa. - A judge refused to reduce the sentence of a former youth baseball coach convicted of offering a player money to bean a 9-year-old autistic teammate.
Mark Downs Jr., 29, had argued in his appeal that his former attorney wasn't effective. But Fayette County Judge Ralph Warman ruled Monday that Downs' arguments were without merit. He let stand Downs' one- to six-year prison sentence imposed last year.
Downs was convicted of corruption of minors and simple assault for offering $25 to an 8-year-old boy to hit his mildly autistic teammate with a ball while warming up before a June 2005 playoff game. The younger boy testified at trial that, on Downs' instructions, he purposely threw a ball that hit his teammate in the groin, then threw another that hit him in the ear.
Prosecutors said Downs didn't want the autistic boy in the game because he didn't play as well as his teammates. League rules require each player to play at least three innings.
Downs remains free on bond while he continues an appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
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