Saturday, March 27, 2010
Black man cuts out other man's eyes
Anthony Blakely was satisfied with guilty verdicts against the Jacksonville man who cut his eyeballs out during a 2008 attack, but he said it's still hard to grasp how much of life's beauty was stolen from him that night. A jury convicted Foster Rayfield Leon of kidnapping and attempted second-degree murder with a weapon. Leon, a 32-year-old career criminal, faces a life prison sentence. Blakely, 40, was a disc jockey at Starlite Cafe in Five Points the night of July 4, 2008, when Leon first befriended him then turned on him. He told different people at the bar that Blakely was looking at his girlfriend or that he wouldn't play one of her requests. Blakely testified during the two-day trial that Leon beat him unconscious in front of the Starlite then was beating him again when he awoke a few blocks away on Herschel Street. When he came to again, his eyeballs were laying on his cheeks and half his right ear had been cut off. Blakely is learning Braille and specialized computer programs for blind. He said he still struggles with feelings of anger and the adjustment of losing his sight at 38. Jurors deliberated about 95 minutes before reaching their verdict. Leon leaned back in his chair but showed little outward reaction.