Atlanta Man Gets What Amounts To Life Sentence For Pistol Whipping Of East Lake Family

Thursday, February 14, 2013

An Atlanta man has been ordered to serve what amounts to a life sentence for the June 10, 2010, pistol whipping of an East Lake family that included two disabled women and several children.

Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman on Thursday sentenced 46-year-old Frederick Anderson to sentences totaling 60 years. Much of that time must be served at 100 percent.

Noting that Anderson once said the court proceeding was "ridiculous," Judge Steelman said, "No, Mr. Anderson, this is justice.

This is justice."

Anderson had earlier asked Judge Steelman to recuse himself, saying he was biased toward him and his attorney, Mary Ann Green of the public defender's office. That motion led to Public Defender Ardena Garth filing for recusal of Judge Steelman on a host of cases involving her office. She eventually withdrew the recusal requests.

Anderson, who remained quiet during the sentencing hearing, is now represented by attorney Donna Miller. She said he continues to maintain his innocence.

Prosecutor Brett Alexander, asking for sentences totaling at least 60 years against Anderson, said he had preyed on two bed-ridden women, including jerking the oxygen supply from one of them, and had pistol-whipped children in the house.

He asked for enhanced punishment based on five prior felony convictions from the Atlanta area with the first dating to 1986. The convictions range from drug distribution to stealing a car, theft and forgery. At the time of his arrest in the East Lake case, he was on probation on a 10-year sentence in Georgia.

Anderson was given 30 years each for two especially aggravated kidnappings. He got 20 years each for two aggravated robberies, 15 years for aggravated burglary and use of a firearm in an aggravated burglary, and another 10 years on a firearm use charge. The firearm cases must be served consecutively to other sentences.

Amanda Schmidt said 10 people were in the house when Anderson and another individual burst into the residence. No one else has been charged, and Judge Steelman said it has not been proven that a second individual was involved.

The witness said the incident caused her to "live in fear" and to be afraid to stay alone at night. She said, "The hardest part was seeing my mom and my little brother and sister being hurt." She said the home invasion "ruined for us" their feeling that their home was a safe place. She said afterward they put in an alarm system and extra locks.

Also testifying were 14-year-old twins Jacob and Lindsay Schmidt, who told of being traumatized by the incident. Lindsay Schmidt said, "I know that one day he'll get out. I'm afraid that he'll come back."

The judge noted that Anderson had warned the family that he would return.

Jacob Schmidt was able to call 911 on a cellphone early in the incident. Police set up a perimeter and caught Anderson in a shed a couple of doors down. He had Jacob's cellphone with him.

Prosecutor Alexander said even worse than Anderson's actions in the home invasion were the fact that he said that during the trial he was coaching a witness on the prior testimony of others and seeking to concoct an alibi through a witness. 

Judge Steelman said it may be said that this home invasion brought more time than many murders, but he said Anderson "to a large extent has set himself up for this day" with his lengthy criminal record.

He said Anderson committed crimes "against vulnerable adults, teens and children in the place where they have the right to reside without fear. Mr. Anderson decided he wanted what they had  and he came in to get it."

The judge added, "To this day, he continues to thumb his nose at the justice system." 

Anderson was ordered taken to the state prison to begin serving the sentence. He will be brought back later for the motion for a new trial hearing.  

Lance Pope also prosecuted the case.






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