MADISON — A 37-year-old Norfolkan who was involved in several altercations in May in which he ended up employing pepper spray will spend at least eight months in the Madison County Jail.
Andrew J. Allen was sentenced Thursday to a total of 540 days in the county jail on three charges dealing with two third-degree assaults, one assault by mutual consent and a failure to appear on one of the assaults.
Madison County Judge Michael Long ordered the sentences to be served consecutively or one after the other. When given credit for 53 days already served in jail and if Allen qualifies for good behavior, he could be released in as few as 241 days. He received 90 days, 180 days and 270 days on the three charges.
Allen represented himself at the sentencing, but there were two other defense attorneys who listened to the proceedings, which lasted almost 45 minutes.
Allen said he believes he should be given credit for 64 days already served. Long said he will have the discrepancy examined by the sheriff’s office. If the sheriff’s office is determined to be in error, he will credit the additional days, the judge said.
Before the sentencing, a victim took the stand to explain what happened to him.
The victim said on May 23 during the afternoon, he went to a convenience store to fill up his pickup with gas.
Prior to that, the victim said he was driving and his dog, which was in the back of the pickup, barked at Allen.
The victim said he apologized, but Allen was still upset and said he was going to call the police. The victim said he placed his hand on Allen’s shoulder and pointed toward the store and told him where the phone was.
The next thing he knew, the victim said, he was sprayed in both eyes with pepper spray and thought he was going to pass out.
“I could not see,” the victim said. “I was on my knees.”
The victim requested payment for his remaining medical bills. The doctor told him there was a scratch on one of his retinas, possibly from the pepper spray can touching one of his eyeballs.
The medical bills included $600 for the ambulance ride and $676 as the balance at Faith Regional Health Services from the emergency room. The staff and doctor had to repeatedly rinse his eyes. It took an hour before he could see again, the victim said.
After the victim spoke, Allen said he thought the scratch could have been caused by the victim rubbing his eyes. He also disputed the medical bills, saying the man tried to inflate the charges.
The victim said it was painful.
“I’m still using eyedroppers two months later,” he said.
The victim said he believes Allen should be incarcerated and possibly considered for a mental evaluation.
Madison County deputy attorney Joe Hurd asked the victim on a scale of 1 to 10, how painful was it. The victim said 9, and told the court he has had open-heart surgery, which also would be a 9.
A witness statement also was read in which Allen was seen pushing a lawnmower, then spraying some type of material into another victim’s eyes, with that victim seen covering his head with his hands.
Earlier, Norfolk police indicated that they have had several contacts with Allen, who had developed a pattern of initiating an altercation with a citizen. As the altercation escalated and Allen was confronted for his behavior, he would spray the citizen with mace or pepper spray, police said.
Allen has a criminal record over about 20 years, including three driving while intoxicated convictions, a driving under suspension, several previous assaults, disorderly conducts and obstructing an officer.
He disputed some of the convictions that were read to him. “That’s a long time ago, I don’t remember that,” he said.
At one point, Long said he could go into more detail, but it wasn’t his intention to try and embarrass Allen. Then Allen said he would not dispute them.
Allen said he plans to take an anger management course when he has completed with his sentences. He also said he was upset that he had been denied visitation to see his 3-year-old son by the mother of the child.
After he gets out of jail, Allen said he plans to move to Colorado, find a couple of jobs. He said he also wants the mother of his child and son to move to Colorado.
Long did not require Allen to pay for the medical bills of the victim who spoke. The judge said according to the law, he cannot order the defendant to pay them if it doesn’t appear he has any way to pay them.