Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sentence in Attack at Homeless Camp; Man Pleads Guilty to Second-Degree Manslaughter and Gets 10 Years

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sentence in Attack at Homeless Camp; Man Pleads Guilty to Second-Degree Manslaughter and Gets 10 Years

Article excerpt

Deciding that Matthew Steven Horn had been given enough of a break in his plea agreement, Senior Judge Edward Hedstrom decided to go with the high end of the sentencing options Thursday in St. Johns County.

Horn, who was first charged with second-degree murder in the Jan. 7 beating death of Douglas Cracraft at a St. Augustine homeless camp, received a 10-year prison sentence for his no-contest plea to second-degree manslaughter and five years for third-degree battery. The sentences will run at the same time. The 43-year-old could have received as few as six years, according to the plea agreement.

Defense attorney Raymond Warren argued that Horn was not the only person who hit and kicked Cracraft, 60, the night before he died. Witnesses said Cracraft, who was new to the camp behind the Winn-Dixie on South Ponce de Leon Boulevard, was the victim of hazing.

Both the state and Warren agreed that all parties were drinking heavily throughout the evening.

According to Warren's information, Cracraft had apparently been placed on a cot that belonged to Horn after the hazing incident. Cracraft most likely passed out and urinated on it. Horn became enraged and attacked him.

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