HARTFORD, Conn. -- Featherweight boxer Matt Remillard was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday for fracturing a Connecticut man's skull with an aluminum baseball bat last year in what police say was a fight over a woman.
The 25-year-old Remillard didn't speak during the hearing in Hartford Superior Court, and he was led out of the courtroom by marshals to begin serving his sentence. He pleaded no contest to first-degree assault in September in exchange for the five-year term.
"Matt, by accepting this plea, has given up his career," said Kevin O'Brien, one of Remillard's lawyers. "This is just a tragedy."
Remillard, a two-time under-19 national amateur champ from Manchester, Conn., was climbing toward the top of the featherweight rankings before losing to Mikey Garcia in March, dropping his record to 23-1. Remillard had held the featherweight titles of the North American Boxing Federation and the North American Boxing Organization before losing to Garcia.
The victim, 22-year-old Jordan Evans, described a harrowing ordeal in his January 2010 encounter with Remillard.
Evans said Remillard pummeled him with the bat several times at a home in Marlborough, about 15 miles southeast of Hartford. Evans said he managed to run outside, get in his car and lock the doors, but he didn't have the keys and was trapped. Remillard then went berserk, smashing the car with the bat numerous times and threatening to kill Evans and his family, the victim said.
After the attack, doctors had to reconstruct the top front of Evans' head. Doctors inserted eight plates and 30 screws, then used 150 stitches to close an ear-to-ear incision they made on the top of his head to fix the damage. He said he still has pain and double vision.
"I have suffered through insurmountable pain," Evans told Judge Elpedio Vitale. "This is something that will haunt me for the rest of my life."
Evans said Remillard should have gotten a much longer prison sentence and he called the five-year term "a gift." He and his parents also criticized prosecutors for dropping criminal charges against three other people in the attack.
The assault happened at the home of Danielle Napolitano, Evans' then-girlfriend and Remillard's ex-girlfriend.
Police say Evans secretly followed Remillard as he drove to Napolitano's home, then the two got into a fight. Evans said he left but returned later that night at the request of Napolitano, who told him that she was alone. Evans claims Napolitano set him up for an ambush.
William Gerace, another lawyer for Remillard, said Evans wasn't as innocent as he portrayed himself. Gerace said Evans "stalked" Remillard and escalated the argument by punching Remillard during their initial confrontation.
Napolitano was charged with conspiracy to commit assault in connection with the beating. Her brother, Adam Napolitano, and her cousin Richard Napolitano Jr. were charged with assault, conspiracy and criminal mischief. Prosecutors agreed to drop the charges against all three because of their cooperation in Remillard's case.
Evans said he is attending college classes with the hope of studying finance at the University of Connecticut next year. He filed a lawsuit that remains pending against Remillard, Danielle Napolitano, Adam Napolitano and Richard Napolitano Jr., seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars for pain, suffering and other claims.