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Brauker gets year in prison for homeless assault

Aaron Selbig

A judge sentenced a Traverse City man to one year in prison for assaulting a homeless man last July.

For the first time since his arrest, 19-year-old Maayingan Brauker admitted to the crime at his sentencing hearing in 86th District Court Tuesday. 

Brauker told Judge Michael Stepka that he and five other people attacked a group of homeless men near Central United Methodist Church.

Prosecutors originally charged another man in the crime, but those charges were later dropped, and Brauker was the only suspect prosecuted.

Brauker said he assaulted David Whitney, who was hospitalized after the attack with a brain hemorrhage, broken nose and cuts to his face.

Brauker said he only remembered parts of the attack because he had been drinking and taking the prescription drug Xanax. He said he prays for forgiveness, and would like to apologize to Whitney personally.

Stepka called the crime “despicable,” saying Brauker targeted homeless people because they are vulnerable and defenseless.

“I think you did a lot more to these individuals than you’re willing to admit,” said Stepka. “I think you picked on this group because they were particularly vulnerable and defenseless, and that is despicable.”

Stepka said he wished he could give Brauker a longer sentence. He gave Brauker the maximum sentence for misdemeanor assault.

Brauker will serve one year in prison, and must pay ore than $1,000 in fines and court fees.