Attackers punished

Published 9:40 pm Thursday, June 24, 2010

Two men and a 17-year-old boy, all from Portsmouth, will serve nearly 300 years total for separate home invasion and arson incidents last year.

Aaron James Brennan, 23, Clinton Matthew Ivey, 31, and Jabree Newman-Mumford, 17, received their sentences Thursday in Suffolk Circuit Court. Ivey was sentenced to 44 years to serve, and Newman-Mumford received 31 years to serve. Brennan received a sentence of 215 years, which was in line with what the jury recommended at his trial. The other two defendants took plea agreements.

Evidence presented in court showed the three ransacked and vandalized a home in the 1700 block of Hosier Road on Feb. 20, 2009. They stole appliances, burned the shed to the ground and attempted to burn the house.

Less than two weeks later, Sally Perry was at her home on Freeman Mill Road when the three broke in, beat her, bound and gagged her and placed her in a bathroom while they devastated the house. After finding her deceased husband’s rifle and threatening her with it, they stole credit cards and her car, and left her in the bathroom with broken bones and a bleeding head wound.

“It was just devastating, it was just surreal,” Perry said in court Thursday. “I just felt overwhelmed.”

After the attack, Perry did not return home for several weeks, instead staying with friends and family. When she finally returned, the house had been so badly ransacked that she had to hire professional cleaners to help her put it back in order.

“It was just overwhelming,” she said. “Everything was smashed, on the floor. A lot of it was stuff my mom had sent from England … and stuff my husband gave me.”

Perry also said it was difficult to look at her reflection in the mirror for the first time after the attack.

“It was hard to believe I was looking at my own image,” she said.

Prosecutor Bob Sandwich said that aside from her husband’s death, March 4, 2009, was likely the worst day of Perry’s life — a statement to which she nodded her agreement from her seat in the courtroom.

Perry noted that she does not feel the same sense of security in her home any longer, even though she upgraded her security system. She still lives in the same house.

“A lot of people wonder how I did it, but we women are strong,” she said.

Newman-Mumford’s mother testified in his defense, but Ivey’s relatives weren’t so supportive.

“I am ashamed,” said Sydney Cogsdale, Ivey’s grandmother. “I have no use for him any further. Right now, I have no concern, no love for him whatsoever.”

Cogsdale lives down the street from Perry, and said she felt responsible, because that is how Ivey pinpointed the home as a target.

“That lady right there lives down the street from me,” she said. “What he did ruined us and our neighborhood.”

Cogsdale hugged Perry after she stepped down from the witness stand.

In all three cases, prosecutors Sandwich and Marie Walls argued for judgments above the sentencing guidelines.

“This rises to the level of one of the most heinous and inexplicable crimes we’ve seen in quite some time in the city of Suffolk,” Sandwich said. “I think the guidelines are woefully inadequate.”

Ivey spoke just before his sentencing to apologize to the victim.

“I really am sorry, Mrs. Perry,” he said. “A lot of things have been taken from you, and I wish I could give it all back … I wish I had the chance to go through the Scared Straight program.”

Judge Carl Eason, however, pointed to Ivey’s criminal history as an indicator that he would not have changed his ways.

“You’ve been in the penitentiary,” Eason said. “If that’s not a Scared Straight program, I don’t know what is.”

Perry said after the proceeding that she now gets the chance to go on with her life.

“I’m just glad it’s over,” she said. “I think justice was served.