According to a witness, Devon Weinstein deliberately broke the legs of a seven-month-old girl, Faith Woodward. He was originally given a 21-year jolt for his crimes. But now, a judge has reduced his sentence, making it possible he could be set free as soon as next year.
Why? That's what the girl's relatives are asking.
As the Denver Post reported, Faith's injuries included a total of eleven broken bones -- including broken legs, which her then five-year-old brother Cameron says Weinstein snapped while holding her down -- plus a separated left elbow and facial burns. Weinstein, who was dating Faith's mother at the time, eventually pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse -- but he didn't confess to the crimes themselves. Instead, he only admitted his failure to get Faith medical help and report her mistreatment. But the original judge appears to have felt he was responsible for considerably more than that, giving him a two-decades-plus sentence as compared to six years for the girl's mother.
Weinstein's request for a shorter sentence was designed to address this perceived inequity -- but in a Sunday Post opinion piece, Lorraine Melgosa, Faith's great aunt, argued against such redress in passionate terms.
In the essay, Melgosa picked apart the seven reasons Weinstein's attorney listed in applying for a sentence reduction: that he was a model prisoner (Faith was a "model child, only fussing if she was hungry or soiled," she wrote. "For that, she was beaten within an inch of her life"); that he participated in the prison dodge-ball team ("Faith received two broken legs for crying during a Denver Broncos game"); that he maintained excellent behavior behind bars ("Weinstein punished Faith by covering her with a blanket and locking her in the closet"); that Faith is fully healed (emotionally, Cameron isn't); that his sentence isn't consistent with other cases (factor in four broken limbs and the punishment was inadequate, she feels); that her mother got a lighter sentence ("two wrongs don't make a right"); and that Weinstein's daughter submitted a letter on his behalf ("his continued incarceration is for her safety as well").
Despite the strength of these arguments, however, Araphaoe District Judge Mark Hannen agreed that adjustment of Weinstein's sentence was justified. Although he didn't take ten years off the sentence, as the prisoner's legal team requested, he did slice off seven. As a result, Weinstein could be released as soon as next year, before October 11 -- and he must be set free no later than 2019.
Melgosa's response? She told the Post, "Once again, I think the system has sent a message that abusers' rights are more important than the victim's."
Here's a larger look at Weinstein's mug shot.
Click here to follow and like the Michael Roberts/Westword Facebook page.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.