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Despite pleas for leniency from the victim, a judge handed down a near-maximum sentence to Christopher Preedom in Genesee County Court on Monday: 12 years in prison, and five years' supervision after release.

Preedom appeared for the first time after pleading guilty in December to a reduced charge of first-degree attempted assault. Preedom had been accused in the November 12th break-in and assault at Batavia Gardens Apartments, in which the victim, Timothy Costanza, lost his eye.

Preedom and two accomplices, brothers Kevin and Timothy Andrews, all took plea deals in the case.

Today in court, the victim of the attack, Timothy Costanza, read a statement to Judge Robert Noonan, asking the judge to "grant leniency" to Preedom. District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, however, indicated that he had information that the plea for leniency was prompted by Costanza's fear of retaliation.

"While it may be considered noble that the victim is asking for leniency here," said Friedman, "...this defendant (Preedom) has already received a substantial break, being allowed to plea down from a Class B felony, under which he faced 25 years in prison.

"Given the circumstances of this case," Friedman continued, "I'm convinced that had he (Preedom) been convicted on the more serious charge, he most likely would have been sentenced to all of those 25 years."

Preedom's attorney, Fares Rumi, disputed those claims and asked the judge for youthful offender status and lenient, minimum-term sentencing. Preedom himself was emotional and apologetic in court, even asking for Costanza's forgiveness.

"I've committed a crime...I know I've messed up...I made a mistake," said Preedom, tearfully. "I'm willing to face the consequences." Family and friends in the courtroom also sobbed through Preedom's statement.

Judge Robert Noonan sentenced Preedom three years below the possible maximum 15-year sentence, but said he could not bring himself to impose any less.

"The problem is: even if Mr. Costanza is appearing here as your very best friend," said Noonan, "you have still committed a crime against society that is horrendous. You took out a person's eye in the most horrific way."

Preedom stood slouched and stared at the judge for the rest of the sentencing.

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