SUFFOLK-- A Portsmouth man was sentenced today to life plus 40 years in the near-fatal beating of Suffolk police officer James Winslow last May.
In a courtroom packed with police officers and members of Winslow's family, Judge William C. Andrews handed down the maximum sentence on a charge of aggravated assault and a list of other charges against 43-year-old Joe Louis Staton.
Staton was accused of beating Winslow unconscious after the officer pulled him over in what police said was a stolen car.
Winslow followed Staton into a wooded area where he was found badly beaten and bleeding from wounds to the head and face.
At the sentencing Winslow took the stand describing the incident for the first time publicly.
'I felt crunching and grinding in my face area. I felt him feeling around my belt area and I knew he was going for my service weapon,' Winslow said.
Winslow said he kept his hands and body on his gun as Staton continued to hit him in the face.
Six others also took the stand including Winslow's mother Victoria Winslow and brother Neil Winslow.
Moments before the sentence was handed down, Staton recounted the events of the day when the beating occurred. He said he had no recollection of how badly he'd beaten Officer Winslow until he was shown photos of Winslow's face in the hospital by his attorney.
He wept and asked the Winslow family for forgiveness.
'I hope God heals every wound I caused you and you recover fully. I'm sorry,' said Staton.