03/19/10 — Cherry defendant takes plea in beating

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Cherry defendant takes plea in beating

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on March 19, 2010 1:46 PM

Eric Jerrod Isler

Another defendant in the beating of Cherry Hospital patient James Dean Smith has resolved his case, taking a plea to a reduced charge on Thursday, court records show.

Eric Jerrod Isler, 32, was accused, along with James "Allan" Smith, 34, and Billy Gerald Wynn Jr., with the beating of Smith, a Type I bipolar patient.

On Thursday, Isler pleaded guilty in Wayne County Superior Court to a misdemeanor count of failure to report abuse of a patient.

That charge was reduced from a felony charge of abuse and neglect of a patient, district attorneys said.

He was sentenced to 12 months of unsupervised probation, $150 fine plus costs and a suspended 15-day Wayne County Jail sentence.

N.C. Assistant Attorney General Doug Thoren has been acting a special prosecutor in Cherry Hospital cases.

Thoren's deal with Isler came after a jury found Smith not guilty of the felony abuse and neglect count on March 10.

Wynn is still scheduled to go on trial May 24.

Dean was severely beaten in the Oct. 3, 2006, incident, having ribs and his nose broken, along with severe facial lacerations, Thoren said during Smith's trial.