FREEHOLD AND WALL TWP., NJ (PIX11) – Fourteen months after a video showing a young man from New Jersey beating up and shaming a homeless man went viral, the attacker faced justice Friday.
And while the judge was firm in his sentence, he reserved his strongest comments for someone who never laid hands on the homeless victim, but was still involved in the attack.
The sentencing of Taylor Giresi, 22, was the final chapter in a sad story that began two weeks before Christmas 2011. On Dec. 11, Giresi and a 17 year-old friend walked into a wooded area in Wall Township, and with the 17 year-old’s smartphone camera recording, Giresi set out on a mission.
“Tell me what is it you’re going to do?” the 17-year-old asks Giresi from behind the camera, to which Giresi replies, “I’m about to go beat up this bum!”
That homeless man, David Ivins, 52, the two young men had spent time in the past drinking and socializing with. But the visit they paid on Ivins in the woods was anything but social.
Giresi kept his word, and went after Ivins full force. He punched the homeless man multiple times, and kicked him repeatedly. Ivins’s nose, cheeks and chin were bloodied in the video that the attackers uploaded to YouTube shortly after the incident.
In stark contrast to that video which had thousands of views, Giresi was in court first thing Friday morning. He was wearing shackles and a prison jumpsuit as he was led into Judge Anthony Mellaci’s courtroom.
Giresi was arrested five days before Christmas 2011 after a detective from the Wall Township Police Department saw the YouTube video and recognized Giresi from the numerous times the Lake Como resident had been in trouble with police in the past.
Giresi, whose family could not post his $135,000 bail, had been in custody since his arrest. Nobody from Giresi’s family was in court to support him, either. In contrast to how he’d been when he carried out the attack, in court, Giresi was all alone.
His voice was low as he made a personal statement before the judge.
“What I did was wrong,” the tall, thin, pale young man said. “I wasn’t thinking right. …I was under the influence of marijuana and something else.”
What that something else was, he wouldn’t say. However, the judge pointed out that Giresi has a clinically low IQ. Also, even though Judge Mellaci did not excuse the attack, he more strongly rebuked the underage person behind the camera that recorded the abuse.
“It’s clear to me,” the judge said from the bench, “that it was the person who was younger, 17, …he was the moving force here.”
That young man, who’s now 18, spent 60 days in a youth detention center before getting a year-long suspended sentence and a year’s probation. As for the person doing the beating, Taylor Giresi, the judge said, “I’m going to sentence him into the custody of the superintendent of the Department of Corrections for three years.”
That’s three years minus the 14 months Giresi has spent in prison already. He should be out from behind bars by January 2015.
Meanwhile, his victim, David Ivins, received an outpouring of support from people who saw the violent viral video. He received thousands of dollars, some of which was placed in accounts from which Ivins was restricted from withdrawing the full balance at once.
He was also given weeks of free hotel stays, and family members have taken Ivins in. However, he has been arrested himself at least once since the beating. He was charged with disorderly conduct.