MADISON, Wis. ( Associated Press) — A Wisconsin judge has sentenced a man to 10 years in prison for throwing acid in the face of a Hispanic man at a Milwaukee bus stop.
Clifton Blackwell, 64, was sentenced for the attack on Mahud Villalaz in November 2019.
Judge Jean Marie Kies told Blackwell that he acted unprovoked in a “fiendish” attack.
“All people are different from each other… When we let those differences cloud our criteria, that is prejudice, discrimination, and in this case it is hate,” the judge declared.
“I’m sure (the acid) caused him a lot of pain, and you caused him emotional trauma from which, I think, he will never recover. You made him feel worthless, and that’s diabolical.”
Villalaz testified that his left eye was permanently damaged, and the judge said the victim suffered second-degree burns.
Blackwell attended the trial in a wheelchair, dressed in prison uniform. Asked if he had anything to say before receiving his sentence, he stated that Villalaz “still scares me a lot.”
“I’m sorry all this happened. It scares me to think that I could die right now of a heart attack. I would definitely do things differently,” the defendant stated.
Blackwell’s attorney, Michael Plaisted, asked for his client a sentence of two or three years, arguing that Blackwell was not part of any racist group, that he carried acid only to defend himself and that he has been diagnosed with multiple personality disorder.
Plaisted acknowledged that Blackwell possibly chose to argue with Villalaz because he was Hispanic, but asserted that Blackwell had no intention of starting a fight.
“I don’t think anyone should draw too many conclusions from this case, although I think there are people who have based (their perception) on limited information,” Plaisted insisted. “He didn’t go out that day with the intention of hurting anyone, but he did and that is why he has been found guilty.”