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Walmart Puncher Sentenced to Five Years

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Buffalo: Walmart Puncher Sentenced to Five Years
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The woman convicted of punching an elderly Wal-Mart cashier will serve five years in prison for her crime.

Grace Suozzi, 71, found that life can change in an instant.

"I'm no longer Grace anymore. I'm the older woman who was assaulted at Walmart."

The lives of Suozzi and 27-year-old Jaquetta Simmons, changed in a split-second last Christmas Eve, recorded on store surveillance tape, when Simmons punched the elder Suozzi.

Simmons is now headed for prison to serve a five-year sentence. She is eight months pregnant.

"She absolutely did not accept any responsibility for what she did," said Lawrence Friedman, prosecutor.

Friedman is highly critical of what he calls Simmons' "lack of remorse."

"Jaquetta writes, 'I still hold no hate or bitterness for Grace.' How good of her."

"I do not have a normal life anymore. She has taken away my health that I worked so hard to maintain without medication. Now I'm forced to be on blood pressure and pain medication; CAT scans, MRI's, blood work. My 'golden years' took on a new vocabulary thanks to Ms. Simmons."

It was a trial with twists and turns, starting last Christmas Eve when Simmons violently refused to show a receipt to Suozzi, a clerk at the Batavia Wal-Mart.

Defense attorney Earl Key claimed Simmons punched Suozzi accidentally. Suozzi's medical records were called into question. Witnesses even testified that Simmons screamed racially-charged remarks the 71-year-old cashier.

But in the end, the store surveillance video of the attack was evidence even the judge could not deny.

"It certainly was evident, by watching the video over and over and over again. It was a brutal, brutal assault," said Hon. Robert Noonan, Genesee County Court Justice.

Judge Noonan could have sentenced Simmons up to seven years.

"I hate that Grace and her family had to endure all the things that they're going through right now," Simmons said.

"She has taken my joy and replaced it with physical pain and emotional trauma," Suozzi said.

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