One of several men involved in the baseball-bat beating of a good Samaritan at a downtown St. Paul gas station was sentenced Thursday to 3 1/2 years in prison — twice the standard sentence for his offense.
Ramsey County District Judge William Leary called Abdiaziz Hirsi's behavior "horrific and truly reprehensible," while his attorney said Hirsi hit victim Edwin Daniel once and immediately took responsibility for the crime by pleading guilty the first moment he could.
Hirsi, 22, was one of four men charged in Daniel's beating. He pleaded guilty to second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon.
Daniel regularly visited the SuperAmerica gas station at 296 E. Seventh St. to fuel his vehicle, an airport shuttle for a downtown hotel.
A few days before the May 25 assault, Daniel defended a female clerk who was being harassed by the same group of men.
Prosecutor David Miller said that at one point in the attack, Daniel, 39, was cowering in the corner of the gas station, out of view of security cameras.
What could be seen, however, were several bat-wielding men, with the bats coming in and out of the picture, Miller said. Hirsi had one of the bats.
Daniel told the court that he had severe injuries that still plague him.
"I respect the law," Daniel said tearfully. "These clowns — they don't respect nothing."
He said that since the attack, which fractured his skull in five places and caused swelling on the brain, he's been unable to work,
has short- and long-term memory problems and finds his sense of taste and smell "all messed up."
The judge praised Daniel for taking the action he took at the gas station.
"You tried to step up as a citizen trying to defend someone else, and it was a great thing that you did," he said.
Emily Gurnon can be reached at 651-228-5522.
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