A Verona man who beat, threatened and held a Kenyan man against his will last year will spend about another 6½ months in jail after he was sentenced Thursday for crimes related to the incident and unrelated matters.
Justin W. Hurst, 29, a Kentucky native, received jail sentences totaling about 16 months, plus about 2½ months of time on probation that will be spent in jail.
But because of credit for time that Hurst has already spent in jail and credit that he will receive for good behavior while in jail, the net effect will have him behind bars for about 6½ more months beyond Thursday, under the sentences handed down by Dane County Circuit Judge Ellen Berz.
Hurst also will be on probation for three years, which will begin at about the four-month mark of his time in jail.
The sentences are geared heavily toward drug and alcohol treatment for Hurst, along with treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Hurst is an eight-year Marine Corps veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. During his service, Hurst suffered a brain injury in an IED attack.
Hurst and another man, David DiMaggio, 49, of rural Mount Horeb, met Mageria Kamau on July 28, 2012, at a bar in Blanchardville, where Kamau was living at the time.
Instead of driving him home, they took him to DiMaggio’s home where Hurst hit him and threatened him, Kamau told police, before Kamau was able to escape, hide and call police around sunrise.
Kamau had planned to come to court to make a statement, but instead submitted a written statement, which was read in court by Jeanne Higuera, a victim-witness coordinator for the Dane County District Attorney’s Office.
In his statement, Kamau described being terrified for his life that night, and worried whether he had put his life into the hands of a pair of serial killers. He said Hurst hit him and interrogated him, called him a terrorist, and told him that he didn’t belong in the U.S. He said Hurst tortured him “physically and psychologically.”
“If it doesn’t amount to torture, I don’t know what is,” Kamau wrote.
Hurst was originally charged with hate crimes for the incident. Under a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty last month to misdemeanor battery without a hate crime penalty enhancer and false imprisonment, a felony. Hurst also pleaded guilty to second-offense drunken driving, misdemeanor drug possession and felony bail jumping.
“It was violent, it was terrorizing, it was racist and it had the effect, the long-term effect, on the victim as one would expect from a victim of rape or attempted murder, that level of violence,” Berz said of Kamau’s ordeal.
She said after thanking Hurst for his years of military service that his behavior “was not honorable,” to which Hurst answered, “That’s correct, ma’am.”
Berz urged Hurst to stay with the drug and alcohol treatment that will be ordered by the state Department of Corrections. She said that while he is on probation, Hurst is to come to court once a month to talk to her about his progress.
Berz also ordered Hurst to have no contact with Kamau but to write a letter of apology to him to be given to Hurst’s probation agent and passed on to Kamau, if he wants to read it.
She also ordered that Hurst perform 100 hours of community service with an organization serving the African-American community.