New London beating victim remembered at manslaughter sentencing

Marlon Beasley was far from perfect but he was perfect to them, his family members said Wednesday in New London Superior Court.

He would baby-sit their kids and sit on the porch with them, eating ice cream. He'd take in a friend who had nowhere else to go. He'd jump into a pool with his clothes on. He loved music.

He didn't deserve what happened, said his first cousin Katrice Oumar. He was still young, and had a whole life to live, said his nephew Daquan Agnew.

About 15 friends and relatives of Beasley attended the sentencing hearing for Edgar Sanchez-Valencia, who attacked Beasley, 38, early Thanksgiving morning in 2016 and inflicted injuries that prosecutor Lawrence J. Tytla said resulted in Beasley's death four days later. 

Sanchez-Valencia, 46, was sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by three years of probation, having pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter. 

Beasley, who was legally blind, and Sanchez-Valencia, who suffers from epilepsy, lived in the Williams Park Apartments for seniors and disabled people at 127 Hempstead St. His relatives said Beasley had undergone retinal surgery in his youth and had learned to get around by counting stairs and using other tricks that made him appear to function better than he actually did.

"This is hurting us more than anything because he wouldn't do anything to anyone," said Danielle Hamlin, a lifelong friend who spoke to Beasley every day.

Both men had attended a party at the complex early Thanksgiving morning and were drinking, according to police. The party host told police he asked Beasley to leave because Beasley was being disrespectful to an unidentified woman Beasley was with.

Sanchez-Valencia left the apartment and returned sometime later and told the host he had punched and kicked Beasley because Beasley was being disrespectful to the woman.

Beasley, who lived on the third floor, was lying on the floor in front of a fourth-floor apartment, unconscious, not breathing and bleeding from the mouth and nose, when police and firefighters were called to the apartment complex at 3:43 a.m. for a report of a fight. He was resuscitated and taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, then transferred to Yale-New Haven Hospital due to the severity of his injuries.

Beasley never regained consciousness, and the following Monday his family decided to remove him from life support after a neurologist told them he had no brain activity.

"The bottom line is that through Mr. Sanchez-Valencia's actions, Mr. Beasley suffered very serious injuries to his face, and complications of those injuries led to his death," Tytla said. "From the state's perspective, there seemed to be no real provocation, no justification."

While Beasley's family wanted Sanchez-Valencia charged with murder and sentenced to decades in prison, Tytla said there was no evidence that he intentionally killed Beasley.

Sanchez-Valencia had a smaller group of supporters in the courtroom Wednesday and stood silently in his tan prison scrubs as a Spanish interpreter helped him understand the proceedings. He chose not to address the court but his attorney, Joseph E. Lopez, said he wanted to convey his heartfelt apologies to Beasley's family.

Sanchez, who has been incarcerated since the incident, had no previous criminal record.

Judge Hillary B. Strackbein imposed the sentence of 20 years in prison, suspended after 10 years served, followed by three years' probation after telling the family that no words from the court could make it better, and that only time could heal their profound pain.

"I'm sure Mr. Beasley would want you to move on," she said. "As for you, Mr. Sanchez-Valencia, look at what you caused. You have to live with that."

She said she hopes he learns, while serving his time, that violence is never a solution, and ordered him to take an anger management course while on probation.

k.florin@theday.com

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