Carl Kenneth Prioleau has been "flirting with a criminal lifestyle for a long time," said John Murphy, assistant commonwealth's attorney. "And the court system has been lethargic in its response to Mr. Prioleau."
Last Friday, Aug. 19, Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Leslie M. Alden sentenced the 17-year-old to 10 years in prison for his role in the baseball bat assault on Elden Street in January that nearly killed another teenager.
"I understand you're young and I take that into account, but I'm not going to take any chances on you," she said. "My primary responsibility is the safety of the community."
Alden suspended eight years and six months of the sentence, and told Prioleau he will be kept on active probation for eight years. She gave Prioleau a strong warning; any additional criminal problems will result in his having to serve the suspended time.
"Needless to say, don't blow it," Alden said.
"Yes, ma'am," answered Prioleau.
Prioleau had been jailed in the juvenile detention center since his arrest in January.
<b>PRIOLEAU PLEADED GUILTY</b> to malicious wounding in March, a point his defense attorney, Leda Gottleib, stressed to Alden during the sentencing hearing Friday in Fairfax County Circuit Court.
"He pled guilty, he didn't waste court resources or the court's time," she said Friday, which she has repeated at a few of Prioleau's hearings since he pleaded guilty.
Prioleau could have been sentenced up to 20 years by pleading guilty to malicious wounding.
Five teenagers were charged in the assault. While three received sentences as juveniles, Prioleau and Derrick Battle, 17, were both indicted by a Fairfax grand jury and prosecuted as adults.
Battle's attorneys argued during a three day trial in July that he acted in self-defense after two gang members, who were carrying weapons, picked a fight with Battle as he walked home from a friend's house.
Battle faced two counts against him — malicious wounding and aggravated malicious wounding — and faced 20 years to life in prison if he was convicted of aggravated malcious wounding. A jury in July did not convict him of the malicious wounding charges but did convict him on two counts of unlawful wounding, a lesser charge than Prioleau's. Each count carries a possible sentence of up to five years in prison.
Battle is scheduled to be sentenced for both counts in September.
<b>PRIOLEAU, BATTLE</b> and the other teenagers were charged in January after a group assault on Elden Street in Herndon.
According to testimony during Battle's trial, two teens who Battle and others said they knew to be gang members confronted Battle and his friend as they were walking home along Elden Street.
Prioleau was called, and brought a black aluminum baseball bat to the scene near the Dulles Park Shopping Center. Battle, who ended up with the bat, struggled with one of the gang members, ultimately hitting him repeatedly in the head with the bat.
The victim was flown to the hospital and remained in critical condition for nearly three weeks and was in a coma for seven days. The victim recovered, but did not testify at Battle's trial.
Prioleau pleaded guilty to punching and kicking the other victim, who did not sustain life-threatening injuries.
All of the teens involved in incident had attended Herndon High School.
The victim, who nearly died, pleaded guilty to carrying a machete in a separate incident in May. He was ordered to enter the six-month locked-treatment Beta program, which treats juvenile offenders who have at least one felony and four misdemeanor charges. Juveniles who are not successful in the program can be sent directly into the state correction system.
<b>MURPHY ACKNOWLEDGED</b> that Prioleau made himself available in the case against Battle, although he was never called to testify.
But he also said that "it is important for Mr. Prioleau to understand the consequences of criminal actions, particularly crimes resulting in victims," Murphy said.
Before he was sentenced, Alden asked Prioleau if he had anything he wanted to say.
"I know what I did was wrong and I would like to ask forgiveness from the court for what I've done," he said.