Henrico teen pleads guilty to assault on reggae star - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Henrico man pleads guilty to assault on reggae star

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A young man from Henrico is on his way to jail for six months, after pleading guilty to throwing a bottle that hit reggae legend Frederick "Toots" Hibbert. Hibbert was struck in the head with the glass vodka bottle, while on the stage at the River Rock concert in May. The gash on Hibbert's head warranted six staples, according to the Commonwealth's Attorney.

William Connor Lewis, 20, was scheduled to go on trial on a felony malicious wounding charge, but instead pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery.

Hibbert was not in court, as his lawyer said he was not medically fit to make the flight from Jamaica. However, he wrote which emotional letter which was read aloud.

Lewis expressed shame and sorrow for what he did, during a drunken moment. Lewis told the court he takes full responsibility for the incident. However, he says his behavior wasn't meant to hurt anyone. Lewis's lawyer, Chris Collins, called the bottle-chucking "monumentally stupid, but not malicious."

Lewis apologized to the city of Richmond, his family, and most of all, to Toots.

However, Hibbert's  lawyer, Michael Shapiro, says the Grammy winner is currently incapable of performing or flying. Hibbert canceled all future shows, saying doctors ordered him to stop performing due to his injuries.

"Toots used to get up at six in the morning, go to the gym for a couple hours...go to the studio, write songs, call in other artists, produce songs, rehearse at night...all that's gone," said Shapiro.

Hibbert's letter stated he continues to suffer from "extreme anxiety, memory loss, headaches, dizziness and most sadly of all, a fear of crowds and performing... I have lost the joyful vitality that has been my trademark as a performing artist."

Hibbert also wrote that he didn't want to see Lewis go to jail.

Hibbert is suing the Henrico man for $21 million and suing Sports Backers and Venture Richmond for $20 million. He claims he can no longer remember the words to his own songs in the court filing.

Toots told the court he also worries for the livelihood of his band members, and their families.

Lewis was also kicked out of Radford University. He's been waiting tables since, doing community service, and getting counseling.

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