Second man sentenced in attack on newspaper carrier

Published 1:36 pm Wednesday, March 15, 2023

The second man convicted in the December 2021 attack of an American Press newspaper carrier was sentenced on Tuesday to eight years in prison, the maximum possible sentence allowed.

Dillon James, 24, was convicted of second-degree battery by a jury on Aug. 31, 2022. Because of a post-conviction motion filed by James’ defense, the sentencing was delayed until this week. James was sentenced by 30th Judicial District Judge Tony C. Bennett, who suspended one year of the eight-year sentence.

James’ conviction and sentencing follows the same of his brother, Douglas James, who was convicted and sentenced in October 2022. Douglas James was also ordered to serve three years of probation and pay a $2,000 fine upon his release.

The brothers were found guilty of attacking newspaper carrier Woodie Blanks, who was 67 at the time of the attack, as he delivered a newspaper to the Rosepine home of the brothers’ grandfather the morning of Dec. 17, 2021.

Blanks told the American Press the homeowner requested Blanks leave the paper at his door rather than in the mailbox because the homeowner was experiencing mobility problems.

After bringing the paper to the door, Blanks began to walk back to his own vehicle when he said he was approached by the men.

“They (the attackers) asked me what I was doing there. I told them I was delivering the paper, like I had been for the past three years … that’s when they blindsided me,” Blanks said. “One of them hit me and knocked me to the ground. They kept hitting me.”

The attack left Blanks partially blind.

Following the sentencing on Tuesday, Vernon Parish District Attorney Terry Lambright said he was pleased with the outcome of the case.

“This was a senseless act that should have never happened,” Lambright said. “People should feel safe in Vernon Parish and I will continue to work every day to ensure their safety.”