Man gets 13-year prison sentence
by Shaka S. Lias
Dec 16, 2010 | 2663 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Judge David Smith remarked on a man's decision to forgo a jury trial and plead guilty Wednesday in Bartow County Superior Court.

Stephen Michael Kutas, 45, appeared before Smith charged with six counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and terroristic threats. All charges involved six different family members and close friends, according to court testimony.

Instead of the 200-plus years he was facing, Smith sentenced Kutas to 30, to serve 13 in a Georgia prison.

Smith said the facts of the case are "frighteningly similar" to one he tried in Gordon County a few years ago. Smith said the person didn't own up to his guilt and he sentenced him to 55 years in prison.

Smith said everyone deserves their right to a jury trial but "rewards folks that admit their responsibility."

Smith said people don't take into account the emotional impact for people to recount possibly the worse days of their life when they testify. "By pleading guilty you stop them (the victims) from that."

Kutas was indicted in September on the charges, with the incident occurring on July 21.

One of the victims was Kutas' mother who pleaded with the judge to get her son some help. She described her son as a good man.

"He isn't a terrorist or horrible human being," she said. "I don't know the trigger that has caused the isolated incidents that we have."

The mother said her son has denied a drug addiction for years. She asked the judge to include treatment with his sentence.

"Stephen is a good human being, he has been here for the family all these years," she said.

Eddie Dettmar, attorney for Kutas, said he admits that the charges are serious.

"Best friends and family were held at gunpoint, he does need counseling," Dettmar said.

Smith agreed, ordering Kutas to receive all treatment available in prison and requiring him to be evaluated once he is released.

The victims in the case did not require a stay away order.

Dettmar said Kutas will probably serve at least 10 years before he is eligible for parole.