NEW ALBANY — A New Albany teen convicted of attempted murder was sentenced to 33 years in prison.
Braidan Coy was found guilty on Dec. 12 of two felonies — a level 1 attempted murder and level 3 aggravated battery — in the stabbing of his friend, John Wheeler. Coy was 17 when he was arrested and charged for stabbing Wheeler, who was 18 at the time, while they were both in the victim’s truck the night of Feb. 27, 2019.
Wheeler suffered multiple injuries from the attack, which caused a stroke, nerve damage and partial paralysis. At a Tuesday sentencing hearing in Floyd County Superior Court 1, Superior Court Judge Susan Orth determined that the extent of injuries suffered by the victim and the defendant’s “lack of remorse," outweighed mitigating factors such as Coy's age and lack of criminal history.
The aggravated battery felony was vacated, and Coy was just sentenced for the attempted murder conviction.
Wheeler, along with his mother and two grandparents, testified at the sentencing hearing, calling for Coy to receive the maximum sentence. Wheeler said Coy was his best friend, and he never expected to be attacked by him. He “cannot trust anyone now because of you,” he said, and he described the physical, emotional and psychological injuries caused by his injuries.
Wheeler also described a lack of remorse from Coy. In the trial, Wheeler had testified that he woke up in his truck around 10 p.m. the night of Feb. 27 and realized he was bleeding heavily. He said that Coy told him “I don’t know what to do,” before leaving, and the victim called 911 himself.
“All you had to do was call 911, but you didn’t,” Wheeler said at the sentencing hearing.
Wheeler is paralyzed on his left side, and he will never be able to join the Marines as he had previously planned, he said. He had to relearn to walk after the attack, he said, and his disability has made it difficult to perform day-to-day tasks.
At the December trial, Coy testified that he woke up to find Wheeler with a knife to his neck and remembered disarming Wheeler, but he said he didn’t remember what happened next. Defense attorney William Gray referred to factors such as Coy's youth and previous prior criminal history at the sentencing hearing.
The prosecution discussed factors such as the three types of injuries sustained in the attack, including life-threatening, serious bodily injury and permanent disability, and a lack of a remorse as “heavily-weighted” circumstances that increased the severity of the crime. Floyd County Deputy Prosecutor Jerry Jacobi said Coy “abandoned his friend and ex-ROTC comrade to die alone without aid.”
The hearing included emotional testimony from Wheeler's mother and grandparents as they discussed the pain of watching him struggle physically and emotionally. His grandmother, Mary McCauley, said Coy "shattered the dreams of his friend," and she is heartbroken to see what her grandson has gone through.
"I pray that God gives me the strength and understanding to forgive Braidan Coy, but I'm not there yet," she said.