The two men who did nothing to stop the violent assault on a 73-year-old veteran Sun journalist -- who was kicked and beaten unconscious on a downtown street -- were sentenced yesterday to probation.
Baltimore Circuit Judge John M. Glynn said that the criminal implications of Gregory Kulla's and Latar Bradshaw's inaction in February 2006 were less than the moral ones.
The man convicted of carrying out the beating, Phillip M. Carter, 20, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
"It's morally shocking," Glynn said. "This sort of offense leads to a decrease in my faith in mankind. It cries out for some sort of explanation as to why."
Bradshaw, who had pleaded guilty in November to first-degree assault and conspiracy to commit robbery, was sentenced yesterday to a suspended 20-year sentence.
Kulla, who had pleaded guilty in November to second-degree assault and accessory after the fact, received probation before judgment.
Both will have to serve three years' probation.
Bradshaw, 24, had egged on Carter, whom he knew from the neighborhood, into robbing the reporter, Carl A Schoettler, who is now 75, after he was involved in a fender-bender with Kulla on Fayette Street near City Hall.
Assistant State's Attorney Rita Wisthoff-Ito said Schoettler has no recollection of the attack, which makes it difficult to prove assault against Bradshaw and Kulla.
"This is a good plea," she said. "Unfortunately, it's not against the law to not help people."
Bradshaw apologized yesterday and said he never intended for Carter to act on his comments. "He was drinking that night and running about," Bradshaw said. "I had my child with me. It was cold."
After the attack, Bradshaw and Carter split the money taken from Schoettler and then got into Kulla's van. Prosecutors have said Kulla, who did not know the two, drove them away.
Glynn pressed Bradshaw for a reason for not calling 911 after the attack. "I was kind of scared," he answered.
Kulla, 38, initially did not want to say anything. His attorney, Leonard Shapiro, said Carter got into the van Kulla was driving for a strip club and ordered him to "just drive."
Kulla, in some limited comments, said people in the crowd were urging him and Schoettler "to fight" when they got out of their cars after the accident. The crowd later screamed at Kulla to give Carter a get-away ride, Shapiro said.
Kulla said that during a minor confrontation over the accident, Schoettler "slightly shoved" him.
Wisthoff-Ito reminded Glynn that the victim was 73 years old, shorter than Kulla, and a "frail, tiny little old man. I can't see him starting any altercation. I have no doubt Mr. Kulla shoved him first."
Schoettler and his son, who lives in Florida, and sister, who lives in Pennsylvania, did not attend but wrote letters, which Wisthoff-Ito read to Glynn.
Schoettler's son wrote that his father forgets names, repeats questions and suffers from headaches, all of which forced him to retire from the newspaper.
Kulla is "simply a coward," the son, Jim Schoettler, wrote. ""He's just as guilty as anyone. He's the most despicable one of the bunch."
Glynn told Kulla and Bradshaw: "Should such a thing happen in the future, I hope you'll remember this and behave with more nobility than you did here."