Work Project Not Prison, Despite Compelling Impact Statement of Victim Left with Three Broken Ribs


By Annette Wong-Toi

SACRAMENTO, CA – Sometimes, victim impact statements have, well, an “impact” on courts. Sometimes not too much.

In the case of Larry Gasaway, despite a victim statement that outlined a horrific attack that affected the life of the victim greatly for years now, the judge here in Sacramento County Superior Court this week didn’t give Gasaway any hard prison time.

The victim requested the defendant do time, but other than several years in jail awaiting trial, Gasaway will serve 364 days on the Sheriff’s Work Project.

Gasaway and his attorney, Yuri Hill, appeared in Sacramento Superior Court via Zoom this week, and although a prison sentence of six years had been proposed, it was suspended and taken to court for review.

However, Judge Geoffrey Goodman was puzzled by the probation report’s lack of detail. Seeking clarification, he conferred with the attorneys present and asked whether the victim had weighed in on this issue.

Deciding against appearing in court for this hearing, the victim submitted an impact statement to be read by Deputy District Attorney Alexandra Sanders on his behalf.

He shared that three of his ribs were left broken, with one never healing. The victim’s injuries have caused him great physical pain and inconvenience.

“I need to guard my left side and avoid certain movements, or else I get a sharp, stabbing pain for approximately two weeks. It continuously throbs. The rib will never heal and will be permanently broken.”

The victim’s spleen was permanently damaged and “will never be 100 percent again,” leaving him with a compromised immune system, adding, he is vulnerable to sickness, resulting having to undergo frequent doctor visits and lab work and experience ongoing problems with their organs.

The victim wrote that there were “too many medical/physical effects to cover” in the impact statement.

In its powerful conclusion, the statement outlines the profound impact of the attack. “His actions not only affected me, but also affected my mother.”

The victim added, “My mother weighs 300 pounds, and I was tasked to perform my duties with her while suffering from three broken ribs. She is physically disabled and unable to walk or stand without assistance. She is totally physically dependent on me.”

The victim was left recovering from his own injuries for a year after his encounter with the defendant. During this time, his mother was hospitalized because he was unable to properly perform his duties.

Throughout the statement’s reading, Gasaway was seen averting his gaze from his device’s camera and taking deep breaths.

The victim ended his statement by addressing Gasaway directly.

“I would like the defendant to know that you cannot go around and assault innocent people. I would like him to think about his actions while he is in custody,” said the victim.

DDA Sanders finished by reiterating that the following plea offer had been shared with the victim, who still decided against appearing in court.

The following sentence was agreed upon by DDA Sanders, given her understanding of the case and Gasaway’s limited record. It was ultimately approved by Judge Goodman.

Gasaway will undergo two years of formal probation, on the condition that he serve 364 days on a sheriff’s work project with an ankle monitor. If he doesn’t do the work project, he’ll serve the time in county jail.

“Based on everything that I’ve heard, it does sound like hopefully it was a one-off spontaneous confrontation, and obviously, it’s very sad that the victim suffered as much as he did, but I will follow the plea agreement given that the victim was advised of it and didn’t seem like he had any strong objection to it,” said the judge.


About The Author

Annette Wong-Toi is a third-year student at UC Davis studying Psychology and Communication. If she isn't learning how to play a new instrument or taking a nap, she's probably feeding the stray cats outside her apartment. She hopes to develop her listening and communication skills to be a better student, writer, and friend.

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