Sentencing scheduled in newspaper carrier attack

Published 12:42 pm Thursday, September 15, 2022

The DeRidder man convicted of attacking an American Press newspaper carrier in December will appear in court next month for his sentencing.

Douglas Paul James will appear in the 30th Judicial District Court in Vernon Parish on Oct. 5 for sentencing by Judge Tony Bennett. He faces maximum penalties of up to $2,000 in fines and up to eight years in prison, with or without parole.

James was convicted by a jury on Aug. 31 of second-degree battery for the Dec. 17, 2021, attack of 67 year-old Woodie Blanks as he was hand-delivering a newspaper to the door of a longtime customer, James’ grandfather.

James insisted that it had not been his intent to seriously harm Blanks, and that he had believed Blanks was a prowler allegedly seen at the property earlier because of the early morning hours at which Blanks was making the delivery.

The attack has left Blanks partially blind.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Ronald Seastrunk, and District Attorney Terry Lambright said he was pleased with Seastrunk’s efforts and the jury’s decision.

“The people of Vernon Parish should feel safe to go out into the community at any time of the day or night and not fear being a victim of a crime,” Lambright said.

Dillon Matthew James was also charged for the attack. His trial is set for October.