Michael McGunigle pleaded for leniency today before he was sentenced for assaulting another man in a parking lot, a one-punch fight that left his opponent dead.
“I have been sorry every day for my part in what happened and I pray to God every day since July 6, 2009 for Mr. Cherry, his wife and his son,” McGunigle said.
McGunigle was sentenced to 14 months in jail today for the July 2009 fight that killed Brian Cherry in an Abington parking lot. McGunigle insists he acted in self-defense, which the jury apparently believed when they found him not guilty of manslaughter, which could have put him in prison for up to 20 years.
The fight erupted over McGunigle’s barking dog.
“I wish peace to everyone involved in this tragic case. The Cherry family. My family and everybody else. I will do whatever it takes to return to my wife and daughter and my other loved ones,” McGunigle said.
But the prosecutor wanted the maximum sentence, saying McGunigle was not sorry as evidenced by the interview he gave to FOX Undercover on the eve of his trial.
“The defendant has done nothing to mitigate the appropriateness of this sentence in addition to his self-serving, one-sided TV interview, your Honor,” Plymouth County Assistant District Attorney Christine Kiggen said.
The prosecutor also brought up McGunigle's three prior assault and battery convictions, which stemmed from a single incident in 1981.
Brockton Superior Court Judge John Connor says McGunigle's criminal record was a factor in his decision.
“In thirty years he hasn't learned the lesson,” Connor said.
McGunigle's attorney wanted his client released on time served.
“I also believe that a gentleman with a record from 30 years ago when you're 20 years old, working as security guard at Faneuil Hall is not the same type of history as a guy who's going out and committing a random act of violence,” defense attorney Wayne Murphy said.
The family of Brian Cherry left the courthouse without commenting on the sentence.
As part of his sentence, McGunigle will also have to do community service. He will be on probation for three years, with another 10 months in jail hanging over his head if he gets in trouble again.