Despite singer’s request, ‘Toots’ bottle-thrower sentenced to jail

Posted at 9:55 AM, Dec 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-12 14:53:15-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - A Richmond judge suspended six months of a Henrico County man's 12-month jail sentence. William C. Lewis, 20, will be under probation for the next three years.

Lewis pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery, admitting he threw the liquor bottle that hit legendary reggae singer Frederick “Toots” Hibbert in the head during a concert on Brown's Island.

Lewis had been charged with felony malicious wounding. That charge was downgraded prior to his guilty plea.

Lewis was arrested at the scene of the May 18 concert at Dominion Riverrock.

In a letter read in court, Hibbert cited his Christian background asked the judge to spare Lewis jail time.

"It is my faith that leads me to implore this court not to put William Connor Lewis in jail," Hibbert wrote. "He is a young man and I have heard what happens to young men in jail. My own pain and suffering would be increased substantially knowing that this young man would face that prospect."

In a $20 million lawsuit filed over the summer, Hibbert alleged the injury he suffered in Richmond forced his group, Toots and the Maytals, to cancel their concert tour - costing the band "significant income."

"Since this incident, I no longer feel safe," Hibbert wrote in the letter. "I no longer feel excited about performing which is like all the beauty in my life has been taken away from me."