Father Attacks Son's Killer In Courtroom Link
The father of a shooting victim was detained after he attacked his son's killer in the courtroom Monday. He has since been released by police, according to county officials.
Antonio Clifford, of Cincinnati, admitted in court that he robbed and shot 28-year-old Joshua Sweat, of Weirton, in a parking lot last year in downtown Steubenville.
After the plea, Mike Sweat, the victim's father, leaped and began to choke Clifford. Amid screams from both the victim's and the killer's families, it took dozens of law enforcement officers to control the crowd. Moments later, everyone was ordered out of the courtroom.
The outburst was in the wake of two other victim impact statements from the victim's mother and sister.
"I truly believe if you are ever set free to live in society, there will be another victim -- another family -- that is shattered," Ginger Sweat, the victim's mother, said to Clifford.
The defense and prosecution came to a plea agreement after deciding that, based on the evidence from the crime, Clifford did not initiate the robbery that took place.
Clifford, who faced the death penalty, was sentenced to 33 years to life in jail after he pleaded to aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence.
The aggravated murder charge carried the most weight in the sentence. Clifford received 20 years on that charge.
Assistant Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Keenan previously said Sweat came from Weirton to the empty parking lot in downtown Steubenville to meet with the three suspects for a drug deal.
When they met, police said the suspects robbed Sweat and Clifford shot and killed Sweat.
Clifford is one of three men charged in connection with the crime. Byron Johnson, of Steubenville, is serving a 15-year sentence after pleading guilty to murder.
Patrick Thurman, also of Steubenville, previously pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence.