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Belmar Man Gets Three Years For YouTube Beatings Of Homeless Man

Man and a juvenile accomplice recorded and posted to YouTube attacks on homeless man

A Belmar man who beat a homeless man, recorded and posted videos of the attacks on YouTube last year was sentenced to three years in state prison in a Freehold courtroom Friday.

Taylor Giresi, 21, of 15th Ave. was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mellaci Jr. for the Dec. 2011 attacks on David Ivins, a well-known homeless man who has lived in the Shore Area for decades.

Videos of the beatings, recorded by a then-juvenile accomplice whose name was never released by Wall Township police, were posted to YouTube and show Giresi smiling, laughing and joking before and after beating Ivins on two separate occasions.

The videos received nationwide attention and condemnation from thousands.

In court on Friday Giresi appeared confused with the proceedings and asked what his sentence was well-after Mellaci had imposed it.

Prior to sentencing, Giresi spoke slowly and gave his account of the beatings, saying he was under the influence of "marijuana and something else."

"I already apologized to the homeless man,'' Giresi said in a hushed tone. "It wasn't like anything serious, but when I put it on the internet, I guess it got serious and everybody started looking at it different."

The prosecution, led by assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Noah Heck, sought a four-year sentence, focusing on the egregiousness of the crime itself. 

"This was a crime which was committed for no real material benefit to anybody,'' Heck said. "It was essentially an act that demonstrated little more than thoughtless cruelty on the part of this defendant.''

But Mellaci gave weight to a few of the arguments of Giresi's attorney, Albert Kapin, of Ocean Township.

Kapin argued that sentencing should be reduced in part because Giresi had a troubled family life, severely diminished capacity for decision-making and an IQ of 74, he said, citing court-ordered psychological and medical exams.

Kapin also argued that because of Giresi's limited cognitive abilities, he was easily swayed by the juvenile behind the camera who, he said, was directing the action.

Viral Videos

Wall Township police arrested Giresi and his accomplice shortly after the December attacks. Giresi was charged with aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit assault, second-degree robbery and fourth-degree theft.

In one of the two videos, which have since been made unavailable on YouTube, Giresi tracks down a makeshift encampment in a wooded area on the Wall/Belmar boundary where he meets his Ivins.

"I'm about to go beat up this bum,'' Giresi says to the camera.

Giresi first pushes Ivins down and later kicks him in the head and punches him in the face before leaving with Ivins’ bicycle in the Dec. 11 video.

In another, recorded the next day, Giresi pushes Ivins down from behind, drawing blood from the man's nose.

The videos were first noticed by Sgt. Sean Pringle of the Belmar Police Department, who tipped off Det. Heath Bono of the Wall Police Department about the possible attack, according to a Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office release.

Support for Ivins

An outpouring of support for Ivins, a Manasquan native, after news of the attacks and donations from far and wide came followed. A Facebook page set up in support of Ivins swelled to more than 4,000 followers in just days. Area bands held benefit concerts. Area teens held fundraisers.

Wall Township-based charity Wall Helps Its People set up a bank account for Ivins with money from hundreds of anonymous doners who had seen the video and were moved to help . Belmar officials helped Ivins get a temporary room at the Belmar Inn.

The beating of David Ivins also spurred state legislation.

Republican Assembly members Dave Rible, a Wall resident, and Mary Pat Angelini, crafted a bill intending to make recording and distributing video of an assault an automatic second-degree aggravated assault charge.

Anyone convicted on a second degree aggravated assault charge is subject to 5-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.

“The action taken by these two boys is completely outrageous and calls for serious jail time,” Rible said at the time. “There needs to be severe repercussions put into place to ensure that no one else attempts to reenact this inexcusable attack on an innocent person.”

The bill was introduced in Jan. 2012. It died in committee before coming to a vote.

Rehab

By January of last year, Ivins had moved into a Pennsylvania rehab facility to try to overcome his addiction to alcohol.

In his 10 by 10-foot Belmar Inn hotel room just days before he left to begin treatment, Ivins told Patch:

“I hope you all come back to see me once I’ve turned my life around,” he said.

Ivins completed his treatment and moved in with family members while he searched for housing.

In The Spotlight Again

But before long, Ivins was back in the news.

He was arrested for disorderly conduct in Wall in April when guests of a Route 35 motel complained of a drunken man screaming in the parking lot. He was also charged with an outstanding warrant and resisting arrest and taken to Monmouth County jail, Freehold Township.

Another arrest followed in July, this time for throwing a water bottle, kicking and spitting at  a police officer trying to arrest him for causing a commotion at a Belmar 7-Eleven store.

Ivins' whereabouts are currently unkown. WHIP officials said Friday that money collected to help Ivins was transfered to a state agency at the behest of Ivins family at the end of last year. The organization has had no contact with Ivins or his family since, said Hiliary Addonizio, a WHIP official.

The juvenile cameraman in the case spent more than 60 days in a state youth detention center following arrest and later received a one-year suspended sentence. He was also placed on probation for one year, according to a release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office.

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Mikey Beagan March 01, 2013 at 04:33 PM
He doesn't care about what he's done, look at his face as he walks into the courtroom.
Pat Purcell March 01, 2013 at 06:34 PM
their attitude is that is was just a homeless guy. how sorry is someone when they walk into the courtroom with a smile on him face? it's a shame that the aggravated assault bill died in committee. what is really sad is that this guy will likely only serve a small percentage of his sentence before he gets out. where's the deterrant in that?
Don March 01, 2013 at 07:56 PM
What comes around, goes around. Why only 3 years too? Nothing but a punk.
dave March 01, 2013 at 09:33 PM
when he gets out his voice will be high pitched,real punk he is
Sal March 02, 2013 at 11:30 AM
We all detest him for his senseless acts of brutality upon the homeless man ___yet maybe what we really detest is that this boy has a low IQ and that he does not know right from wrong. If anyone thinks that punishing the mentally impaired is going to change their behavior ___they are only fooling themselves.
wookfish March 02, 2013 at 12:04 PM
Sal, he admitted being under the infuence of something ,low IQ,etc. no excuse for being an animal of the worst type,preying on those that can't protect themselves
clamdigger March 02, 2013 at 12:54 PM
this guy Taylor is the perfect patient for Nurse Ratched.
Poindexter McSmash March 02, 2013 at 01:27 PM
While he's in jail, the others will teach him how not to get caught. We should send him to a Mexican jail as a show of good faith between our countries.
WMS826 March 02, 2013 at 01:41 PM
Stupid white trash.
Doris Olson June 12, 2013 at 03:13 AM
It's so sad to witness these things. No remorse. Not a care at all how another person feels, but let it be them being picked on and beaten and they would expect a hell of a lot more punishment than what they received. Our youth today have been brainwashed by years of academic propaganda. Ignored by society in general. Desensitized by endless brutality on TV, from horrible Hollywood movies and computer and other games. Even the news channels show nothing but violence and so forth. The bad economy, lack of faith and so much more, all contributes to many children growing up lacking morals. Everything is upside down!

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