26-year-old Joshua Ray Bates will spend at least two and a half years in prison for attacking his wife outside his home based on a ten-year prison term handed down Wednesday. His term was significantly extended by a lengthy criminal history that includes additional instances of family violence.
"He was always being blamed for something, whether he did it or not," Bates' grandfather Gary said.
Bates lived with Gary and grandmother Darlene from age seven until his first trip to prison at seventeen.
"When he got out, 99% of the Joshua I knew at the time was there. He was easy going, still fun and was really looking forward to doing something good when he got out. The only difference I have ever seen over the years with him while he was in the penitentiary system, his temper became quick," Gary said. "And I have always blamed that on our penitentiary system, because living in those conditions, that made him that way."
"He's a good person," Darlene said. "He got in with the wrong kids and he just spiraled down."
Both grandparents pledged their support, no matter the outcome. At times Bates' now ex-wife, the victim, sat quietly crying.
"He's a grandson, he's a brother, and he is a father to a two-year-old boy who adores him," defense attorney Zachary Davis said.
Davis argued bates was no monster. But prosecutors Lucas Machicek and Kenneth Biggs laid out a pattern of crime that turned what would have been a misdemeanor into a major felony.
That "effort" included Bates committing additional crimes the last time he was on parole.
When he learned he'd been sentenced to ten years he simply shook his head. Minutes earlier he was heard telling a sheriff's deputy during a court recess that he never beat his wife to begin with.