Kent student sentenced for Nov. 2009 assault case

Dave O'Brien

A Kent State student has been sentenced to two years in prison for assaulting and seriously injuring a fellow student during a November 2009 fight in the parking lot of a Franklin Township convenience store.

Martin J. Gorbey, 22, was given the minimum sentence of two years in prison by Portage County Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman following his November 2010 conviction on a charge of felonious assault, a second-degree felony. He faced up to eight years in prison.

According to court records, Pittman ordered Gorbey to have no contact with the victim, 21-year-old fellow KSU student Anthony D. Anderson, except to write him a letter of apology. She also fined Gorbey $500.

Gorbey, a Warren native who was living on Third Avenue in Franklin Township at the time of the incident, was accused of seriously injuring Anderson on Nov. 25, 2009, during an incident at Sheetz, located at 1762 E. Main St. on the Kent/Franklin Township border.

In a sentencing memorandum filed with the court, defense attorney Brian Coffman argued Gorbey was an “excellent candidate” for probation and that a prison sentence was “not necessary.”

Gorbey had no prior criminal record, nor any substance abuse problems, Coffman wrote to the court.

“Society benefits by Martin receiving a college degree, not a prison Ph.D.,” he wrote. “As sure as this was Martin’s first appearance before any criminal court, it will be his last.”

Following Gorbey’s guilty plea, Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci previously said Gorbey told Portage County sheriff’s detectives that he and friends took a taxi to Sheetz after a night out in downtown Kent, and only assaulted Anderson after Anderson attacked his friend.

Witnesses told investigators the incident began after an intoxicated person made inappropriate sexual comments to female customers, Vigluicci said.

Coffman contended in court documents that Gorbey only committed the offense because Anderson had assaulted one of Gorbey’s friends, Perry Finley, by shoving him to the ground and repeatedly kicking him.

“Fueled by equal parts alcohol, testosterone and adrenaline, Mr. Gorbey confronted Mr. Anderson who had just assaulted his friend,” Coffman wrote. “The two men engaged each other and, in the end, Mr. Gorbey prevailed physically.”

Vigluicci said Gorbey struck Anderson, wrestled him to the ground, struck him two or three more times as he lay on the ground, then walked home.

Anderson told investigators he was pushed up against the building, punched in the head and knocked to the ground, Vigluicci said, and suffered a broken orbital bone in his face.

Coffman wrote that Gorbey’s actions “did not rise to the level of a defense (defense of another), however his loyalty to his friend and his desire, albeit horribly misdirected, to defend his friend’s honor cannot be ignored” by the court.