Gary panhandler gets a year in jail for punching woman
By Lori Caldwell email@example.com September 5, 2012 4:02PM
August Singleton. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media ptmet
Updated: October 7, 2012 7:58AM
GARY — August B. Singleton testified in his own trial Wednesday, admitting he solicited for food and money, walked up to cars stopped at the light, and remembered the woman who accused him of striking her when she refused to donate.
Then the 58-year-old man, who walks with a pronounced limp and has a disfigured arm, said he stood only on the corner and accepted money thrown at him by motorists, denied asking the victim for food and said he didn’t remember the victim or the May 10 incident at all.
When Lake County deputy prosecutor Rosemary Lynch quizzed about which of his answers were true, Singleton accused her of “badgering” him.
“You’re bothering me. You’re rude,” Singleton said.
The bench trial ended with a guilty verdict on obstructing traffic, panhandling and battery charges.
Gary City Court Judge Deidre Monroe sentenced Singleton to one year in jail after abandoning efforts to get his correct home address.
“I live in Joliet. Between Joliet and Gary,” Singleton testified. He said he rode a bus to court on Wednesday, then later said he spent the night here.
“You like to tell little fibs,” Monroe observed.
Singleton, who has prior arrests and convictions for obstructing traffic and soliciting at the intersection of 15th and Cline avenues, balked at Lynch’s questions about how much money he collected from his solicitations.
“You trying to build a case for the IRS?” he asked.
The victim, wearing a “Dale Jr.” sweatshirt, testified she was at the intersection on her way home when Singleton approached. She told him she had no money to offer, so he asked for the snacks her 3-year-old son was eating in the back seat of her van.
When she refused, he hit her.
Singleton said he’d seen the victim but didn’t approach her. “She doesn’t look like she anything.”
Patrolman Shakia Shelton saw a red mark on the victim’s face and noticed Singleton still begging for money while she took a report.
She arrested Singleton and seized his two “Need Help” cardboard signs and more than $26.
“The only problem I have is she took my money,” Singleton said, gesturing to the officer.