A St. Pete Beach man accused of pummeling an elderly driver in a hospital parking lot after a road rage incident this summer received two years of probation Monday.
The lack of jail time angered the family of the victim, who was seriously injured. But the defendant's attorney says the case is not so clear-cut — that his client got injured, too.
George S. Hall, 64, pleaded no contest to a charge of battery on a person over age 65, and adjudication was withheld, said his defense attorney, Roger Futerman.
"He didn't feel he was wrong, but he wanted to get the case behind him," Futerman said.
According to an arrest report by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, Hall was upset with the 83-year-old Snyder on July 3 because he believed Snyder cut him off as he drove his motorcycle near the intersection of Gulfport Boulevard and Pasadena Avenue.
Deputies said Hall followed Snyder to Palms of Pasadena Hospital, then attacked him. Snyder was going there to visit his wife, who was recovering from a pacemaker replacement.
During the scuffle, Snyder pulled out a 9mm semiautomatic handgun and fired, striking Hall in the upper arm.
Deputies did not charge Snyder, who had a concealed weapons permit, saying he acted in self-defense.
The State Attorney's Office agreed that Hall should receive some jail time, said Assistant State Attorney Brian Daniels. But Hall's lack of a criminal record meant he did not qualify for mandatory incarceration. He was sentenced by Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Timothy Peters.
Nathan Snyder, a Holocaust survivor who retired to St. Petersburg from Philadelphia in 1984, suffered a fractured hip, spent nearly a month hospitalized and has had two surgeries. He needs a walker to get around, Lydia Snyder said, and has been having nightmares and panic attacks.
Through his attorney, Hall declined to be interviewed. But Futerman said his client refutes Snyder's version of events.
"He felt that when this dispute happened that Mr. Snyder overreacted, and that Mr. Snyder shouldn't have been carrying a loaded gun with 13 rounds of ammunition," Futerman said. "My guy got shot, and he felt that Mr. Snyder should have been charged with attempted murder."
So Mr. Hall gets his lil' biker panties in a wad because an oldster did what they USUALLY do, which is drive like crap. Truth be told, the biker was probably speeding, tailgating and/or crowding the lane marker...like they usually do! Instead of a rude gesture, or yelling at the guy, what does the tough biker dude do? Follows the old guy to a hospital parking lot and beats the crap out of him! Since the old guy, in full compliance with Florida law, shot him in the arm, now Missus Hall thinks the old guy should be tried with attempted murder?!?! For defending himself from a raging biker some two decades his junior? Puh-Leaze!
As I told some of the bikers who wrote in to the paper in support of their "bro": a) People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones...bikers are by far the biggest hazard to their own safety by the way they drive, and b) One of the given hazards of riding a motorcycle in Florida is the "seasoned" drivers. If you wanna take that risk, do so...but don't beat up the old folks for driving like....well, old folks! And when the old guy you're using as a punching bag pulls out a 9mm and shoots you, don't compound your already un-manly behavior by whining about it later!
And Judge Peters, you are correct that Mr. Hall didn't qualify for mandatory incarceration....but you could have locked him up anyway! Thanks a ton!