29-year-old Steven McBrayer, who is on probation for aggravated assault, requested to have his $45,667.13 restitution fine reduced Tuesday in Clay County Circuit Court due to his inability to make the high monthly payments.
McBrayer was ordered back in April of 2008 to pay restitution to Jonathan Barkley, whom McBrayer admitted to severely beating around September of 2006 at 1093 Pine Acres in West Point, the residence that McBrayer was also charged with breaking into. Because of the beating, Barkley suffered a broken nose, a busted eye socket, the loss of his front tooth, loss of blood and the loss of consciousness.
McBrayer was ordered to pay $400 a month in restitution for the first 12 months and was ordered to pay $850.00 each month for the remaining 48 months. Rodney Ray, attorney for McBrayer, said McBrayer made the $400 a month payments but cannot afford the $850 monthly payments.
Barkley, who was employed at Prestage Farms at the time of the altercation, said medical bills that he incurred for surgeries and other procedures as well as loss of wages from his time off work totaled about $30,000, which he said McBrayer should be responsible for.
“I had to undergo surgery to repair many broken bones in my face, including placing a plastic plate under my eye so my eyesight would not be lost,” Barkley said in his victim's impact statement. “Most of the repairs made were to keep me from having permanent damage with more surgeries to come in the future.”
Barkley said his future surgeries are estimated to cost about $14,000, which he said McBrayer should also pay. Ray questioned Barkley about the actuality of those future surgeries, saying he has not had any post surgeries thus far and has not consulted with a physician to see how much it would cost if he did in fact need future surgeries. Ray said Barkley is not sure if the surgeries will even cost $14,000.
Barkley said he has talked with a physician, but cannot have any surgeries right now because he does not have the money for the surgeries. He said his next surgeries would include work under his eye, which he said would start sagging due to the impact of the blunt force trauma on his eye, and reconstruction of the bone under the eye. He said doctors would also attempt to correct the nasal problems he developed due to the injury.
To this day, Barkley said he's still dealing with the assault and the injuries it left him.
“How or why could someone do this to another person?” Barkley stated. “It will be something I'm reminded of every time I look in the mirror for the rest of my life. The physical scars are only cosmetic, but the emotional scars are much harder to cope with.”
Ray said McBrayer has been doing everything he can to make the payments and stay within the terms of his five-year probation. In order to make the restitution payments, McBrayer moved in with his parents to save on expenses and is currently working two jobs. According to court records, McBrayer brings in around $1600 per month, which Ray said after basic living expenses, McBrayer is approximately $400 short of the $850 per month payment he's required to make.
Ray said McBrayer hasn't had any problems with his probation officer and has made every payment on time.
“I have tried very hard, and I've done pretty well,” McBrayer said Tuesday during his hearing.
It could not be determined how much Barkley's insurance company paid for his medical expenses, though Barkley said the company did pay some. Judge Jim Kitchens took the request for payment reduction under advisement and said an order in this case will be made soon.