A St. Petersburg man who produced and sold videos of scantily-clad women beating up homeless men has received a seven-year prison sentence.
Jeffrey Williams, 61, was sentenced Monday after he was found guilty of aggravated abuse of a disabled adult for the taped beating of a developmentally disabled schizophrenic. Circuit Judge Keith Meyer also sentenced 27-year-old Zuzu Vargo to three years for administering the beating.
In the video, Vargo punched the groaning man in the ribs and face and then kicked and punched him after he fell to the ground.
Williams had argued that the victim had signed a waiver. Williams had produced about 1,000 similar videos and sold them to sadomasochism aficionados. He usually paid the homeless men $50 to be beaten and the women $300 to administer it.
"We're not in the business of hurting people . we're in the business of a fantasy enactment for a certain subset of the population," Williams said. "I deeply regret the pain and the anguish that we caused."
But prosecutors and the judge doubted he could not tell that the man was mentally disabled and incapable of volunteering to be beaten.
"I find it completely incredible that you would not have picked up within the first few seconds . how substantially he was impaired," Meyer said.
Vargo tearfully told the judge she did not know the man was disabled because other people had checked him out before she fought him.
"I shouldn't have trusted the judgment of someone else," she told the judge. "I'm so sorry for all the trauma and distress."
Williams and Vargo are awaiting trial for the alleged beating of another disabled man.