Saying it was time to face the consequences of actions that left another person dead, a McHenry County judge Friday sentenced a Crystal Lake man to four years in prison for killing a man with one punch during a 2007 fight.
The sentence was just one year shy of the maximum Dustin Goy, 32, faced for his involuntary manslaughter conviction stemming from the death of fellow Crystal Lake resident Anthony Carlsen from head injuries suffered outside a downtown Crystal Lake bar.
Sentencing Judge Sharon Prather called the incident "a senseless act fueled by alcohol."
"It has resulted in the most horrendous of consequences to the Carlsen family and now Mr. Goy is going to pay some consequences as well," the judge added. "Though no consequence for Mr. Goy is going to measure up to those suffered by the Carlsens."
Prather found Goy guilty of the Class 3 felony charge in October after a three-day trial in which witnesses said he punched Carlsen from the side during a confrontation Sept. 8, 2007. The blow, according to eyewitnesses, knocked the 45-year-old Carlsen out instantly, causing him to fall back and strike his head on the pavement. He died a week later.
Goy's defense argued he was acting in self-defense after Carlsen - five inches taller and 130 pounds heavier - shoved down one of his friends and then turned to Goy.
Prather rejected those arguments, saying there was no evidence Carlsen acted aggressively toward the defendant.
During an emotional hourlong hearing before Prather Friday, Goy, a father with two young children, gave a brief, tearful statement thanking his family for their support and apologizing to Carlsen's widow and two children.
"My heart goes out to you and your family," he said. "I'm so sorry for what happened to you that day."
Family members of both men took turns on the witness stand describing them as loving, devoted husbands and fathers, one who is missed and another who would be if sent to prison.
"I never thought the strongest man I ever knew could be harmed so horribly," said Carlsen's daughter, Nicole Carlsen. "I don't understand how one person's senseless actions could take our father away and change our lives forever."
Goy's defense asked for probation, arguing again that he was not the aggressor in the confrontation. But prosecutors said Goy - who previously received probation on drug and burglary offenses more than a decade ago - should not be given a third chance.
"The punishment should fit the crime," Assistant McHenry County State's Attorney Michael Combs said.
"You get probation twice before and then go out and commit actions that cause someone's death, you shouldn't get it a third time."
Goy attorney Todd Cohen said there will be an appeal.
"We do not believe that the facts of the case warranted a finding of guilty," he said. "We do not believe the facts of the case warranted four years in the Department of Corrections. Just because someone is convicted of a crime doesn't make him a criminal."