Fifty year old Robert Wirtz was assaulted this past week in front of the hardware store he sleeps outside of in Reynoldsburg. Store employee Cody Lamaster assisted Wirtz when he came into work the following morning and noticed his face was mangled. Now Wirtz is facing reconstructive surgery and his assaulters are still on the loose.
According to this story from the Columbus Dispatch, the director of the National Coalition for the Homeless states assaults against the homeless are common and usually committed by other homeless people or teens. Wirtz could only tell police that his attackers were two males.
The community has rallied around this man and helped to collect thousands of dollars for his upcoming surgeries. Because of the assault, Wirtz needs his jaw wired shut and possibly titanium plates in his fractured face. He also suffered a broken arm.
It seems that crimes, particularly assaults, against the homeless are more common today than ever. It is unclear if this is the case or if they are just getting additional media attention these days. According to a report from the National Coalition for the Homeless, 160 homeless people were attacked and 28 of them died in 2007. One has to imagine there were several more similar cases that simply went unreported.
Assault is a very serious offense. When charged with assault, you could be looking at an extensive prison term. Many assault cases in Ohio are domestic assault charges and occur between family members. This exacerbates the penalties and consequences of the assault.
The most serious assault crime is called aggravated assault and is a 4th degree felony. This offense carries a potential 6 year prison sentence and fines or up to $5000. Facing these types of charges is enough to scare anyone.