Naesean Howard sentenced to 10 years for stabbing former SU football teammates
SYRACUSE, N.Y. —
He was a promising young athlete, a standout football star at West Genesee who went on to make the Division 1 football team at Syracuse University. But Nasean Howard's life went spiraling out of control last spring when he stabbed two of his former teammates, Chauncey Scissum and Corey Winfield.
He was sentenced on Friday morning in Onondaga County Court to 10 years in prison. And for the first time, we are hearing from Howard and the mother of one of his victims.
Standing in shackles, awaiting his sentence, Nasean Howard stood before a judge to learn his fate. Inside court, the mother of one of the victims held back tears as she recalled the chaos of last April when she rushed to the hospital to find her son. "When I got to see him, I didn't recognize him only by him saying hey mom," said Sherrolletta Scissum, Chauncey's mother.
Scissum says she arrived to find her son covered in blood and bandages after what she calls a violent and unprovoked attack that has left her son struggling to recover physically and emotionally. "For those scars that will forever remain on his body, will never go away," she said. "He will have a constant 24/7 365 reminder of that horrific day."
In a rambling statement, this once promising football player told the judge he did not mean to hurt anyone. He says he was going through emotional distress from years of bullying and was hearing voices in his head when he tried to defend himself. "So it wasn't like I was trying to kill someone. I was acting out of paranoia," Howard said in court. "And I want to apologize to them. It's not my fault I have these head concussions and these head traumas. I was in trauma at the time. It's not my fault I have these voices in my head."
Howard's attorney spoke with us outside court. "It's a tragedy. I've been doing this for a long, long time and some of them you expect things, but this is a tragedy for everybody especially for my client who up until a day or two before this was just a phenomenal person," said Defense Attorney Ralph Cognetti.
The prosecutor says while the sentencing brings closure to the victims, their scars will last a lifetime. "It's unfortunate that Mr. Scissum is going to carry the scars of this incident every time he looks in the mirror or takes a shower, he's going to see these scars on his body," said Assistant District Attorney Michael Manfredi. "They're going to be a constant reminder of the time that he was almost stabbed to death."
The prosecutor was asking for a 20 year sentence. He says 10 years is lenient, but respects the judge's ruling. As for Chauncey Scissum, he plans to graduate this spring and transfer to another school to finish out his eligibility. Corey Winfield already transferred to West Virginia University.
Howard was once a member of the Orange football team himself, but was released from the team in 2014.