YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Jason Harmon says he can change. But a judge who sentenced him to five years in prison Thursday for assaulting his pregnant girlfriend and choking their infant child said his criminal record shows that is not true.
“When you tell me this is not going to happen again, I find it very hard to believe that based on your history,” Judge Anthony Donofrio told the 29-year-old Harmon just before he was sentenced in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on two counts of domestic violence, a third-degree felony; and child endangering, also a third-degree felony.
Harmon earlier told the judge via video hookup from the county jail that he has changed since his arrest in April for the attack on the woman and their child.
“This time, I will make sure it never happens again,” Harmon said.
Harmon was arrested April 28 after an argument with the woman at her Manhattan Avenue home. Reports said the woman told police the pair argued and Harmon choked her until she passed out and choked their five-month-old child also.
After the woman woke up, she drove Harmon to a home on Verona Avenue, then said she was going to work. Instead, she drove herself and the baby to a hospital.
Assistant Prosecutor Steve Yacovone told the judge that the baby is fine now but at the time had bruises on his neck, and the mother also had several bruises and cuts on her face.
Yacovone asked for a 5-year sentence, saying the severity of the injuries and the fact that Harmon attacked a pregnant woman and an infant warrant such a sentence.
The woman gave a brief statement, saying she was not sure what led Harmon to erupt the way he did that day.
“I know Jason has to pay for what he has done to me and my son, but I want him to know I forgive him and I hope he makes better choices so he can be a good father for our children,” she said.
The baby appears to have no lasting affects from the attack, Yacovone said,
Defense attorney Ed Hartwig asked for a three-year sentence. He said his client deserves to be punished, but he held a steady job before he was arrested, took care of an elderly relative and supported his children.
But Judge Donofio said Harmon’s past criminal record, which stretches back to when he was a juvenile and includes convictions for drug and weapons offenses as well as previous convictions for domestic violence, show that he has not yet demonstrated he can be rehabilitated.
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