Court denies appeal in case of brutal Youngstown home invasions - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Court denies appeal in case of brutal Youngstown home invasions

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CINCINNATI, Ohio - Federal judges have denied the appeal of a prison inmate serving an 84 year prison sentence for beating and robbing several elderly victims in Youngstown.

James Goins claims that since he was only sixteen years old at the time of the crimes, the courts are not allowed by law to sentence him to what would amount to be a life prison term.

The Sixth District Court of Appeals ruled that existing court rulings don't make it clear if the sentence would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

In March 2002, a jury in Mahoning County convicted Goins on eleven criminal counts stemming from his participation in two violent home invasions on January 29, 2001.

Goins and an another 16-year old accomplice, Chad Barnette attacked 84-year-old William Sovak as he was picking up his morning newspaper.

The two pushed Sovak into his home, repeatedly hit him, kicked him and knocked him to the ground several times.

They pushed Sovak down the basement stairs, dragged him into a fruit cellar, and locked the door to prevent his escape. Sovak sustained a punctured lung, broken ribs and other broken bones.

According to court records, later that same day, Goins and Barnette broke into another home in the same neighborhood.  They threatened to kill Elizabeth Luchisan, and her 64-year-old, wheelchair-bound husband Louis unless the elderly couple gave them money.

To prove that they were serious, the two youths hit Mr.Luchisan over the head with a plate and hit his wife with a telephone. One of the two assailants carried a firearm as they led the Luchisans around the house in a search for money.

The intruders left the home with $187, a 27 inch television set, and the keys to the couple's Chevy Malibu.

A jury convicted Barnette and Goins of assault, kidnapping, robbery and attempted murder.

Both men are not scheduled to get out of prison until 2085.

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