The man who attacked a Telegraph photographer after a 2010 news conference pleaded guilty to battery and two counts of criminal damage to property Tuesday.
Malik Brown, 29, was sentenced to four years of probation during a hearing in Bibb County Superior Court on Tuesday afternoon.He also must serve 500 hours of community service and pay more than $1,500 in restitution.
Prosecutor Myra Tisdale said the sentence is “very standard” for similar cases, and many are settled out of court.
Woody Marshall, The Telegraph’s chief photographer, suffered a torn rotator cuff in the attack, which followed a Dec. 30, 2010, news conference at Macon City Hall, Tisdale said.
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That news conference was called by then-state Sen. Robert Brown of Macon. Marshall attended the news conference to take photos.
When Robert Brown left the Macon City Council chambers, Marshall followed to take photos. Malik Brown pushed Marshall out of the way and tried to keep him from taking additional photos.
He held Marshall against a wall and shoved him to the ground, damaging Marshall’s camera and camera lenses.
Tuesday, defense attorney Franklin J. Hogue gently maneuvered Brown away from a podium at the front of the courtroom, placing his hand on Brown’s arm, when Marshall approached the judge to speak.
“Malik Brown hurt me when he had no reason to do so,” Marshall said during the hearing. “I was simply doing my job as a news photographer for The Telegraph.”
As a result of his injuries, Marshall missed days of work and was unable to pick up a camera for a month, he said. Marshall said he still has pain in his shoulder.
Marshall’s family and friends sat with him during the hearing. Brown didn’t appear to have any supporters present at the proceeding.
Brown apologized to Marshall during the plea hearing.
“I didn’t mean to hurt Mr. Marshall or damage his equipment,” he said.
Brown, who works during the day at Sara Lee and moonlights as a bouncer and security guard, said he’s not used to people running up to him.
“I made a bad judgment,” he said.
Although Brown is a large man, “he’s actually a very gentle and sweet man,” Hogue said during the hearing.
Before the hearing, Brown had completed five sessions of anger management counseling and has no previous history of violent behavior, Hogue said.
As a gesture of goodwill, Hogue told the judge that Brown would be willing to perform community service at The Telegraph, Marshall’s workplace.
Judge Tripp Self replied that The Telegraph wouldn’t qualify as a place where court-ordered community service should be performed.
Brown was sentenced as a first offender, meaning that he won’t have a felony on his record if he successfully completes his sentence.
If he commits a new offense while on probation, he could be sentenced to up to 11 years in prison with credit for time served.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.