A New Jersey doctor who viciously attacked a 12-year-old boy in a ‘ski rage’ three years ago will now spend the next three Valentine’s Days behind bars, a judge ruled on Wednesday.
Dr. Samuel Caruthers, 47, will spend 24 straight hours behind the bars of the Sussex County jail on February 14, 2020, and will repeated the process again in 2021 and for a final time in 2022.
The specific jail stints serve as a stern message from Judge Thomas J. Critchley, who chose the specific date because that was the day the attack occurred back in 2016 – a fateful day which has, according to the victim’s mother, continued to haunt her son.
Jacob Azamoun, now 16, was punched by Caruthers and stabbed with a ski-pole while he was snowboarding at the Mountain Creek resort in Vernon.
The shamed doctor is said to have become incensed after Azamoun crashed into his 10-year-old son on a bunny slope, prompting the violent altercation.
Samuel Caruthers, 47, will spend 24 straight hours behind the bars of the Sussex County jail on Feb. 14, 2020, and will repeated the process in 2021 and 2022
Caruthers punched Jacob Azamoun, now 16, and stabbed him with a ski-pole while he was snowboarding at the Mountain Creek resort in Vernon
On behalf of his client, Caruthers’ lawyer George Daggett asked the judge to consider the emotions running through the defendant’s head as he watched his son ‘get slammed into and go flying in the air,’ the New Jersey Herald reported.
‘The jury did not find him guilty of aggravated assault. There wasn’t a punch, punch, punch,’ Daggett stated in court Wednesday. ‘He’s not here because he is a criminal, he is here because he cares about his son.’
Caruthers expressed his regret over his actions, insisting that he felt ‘very bad about what happened’, and believes her reacted the same way he would’ve done if ‘my child was going to be hit by a car or train’.
‘I jumped right in front and defended my child from getting hit another time,’ he said.
‘Next thing I see is profanity being thrown at me and a punch, and it was just a reflex that I swung back. I never intended to cause anybody harm.’
But prosecutors lambasted Caruthers, pointing out that he had changed his story numerous times over the course of the investigation, where he tried various different ways of justifying his reaction.
‘This defendant has zero credibility and his expressions of regret here today fall on, what I would suggest, a lot of deaf ears because they lack any true meaning,’ assistant prosecutor Don Cox told the courtroom.
‘If he has any regret, it’s a regret he got convicted by this jury and he is here being sentenced today.’
The shamed doctor is said to have become incensed after Azamoun crashed into his 10-year-old son on a bunny slope, prompting the violent altercation
A tearful Caryn Azamoun, the victim’s mother, explained to the judge during Caruthers’ sentencing that her son still suffers from nightmares and paranoia as a result of the 47-year-old’s actions.
Reading out a letter written her son, Caryn said: ‘[Caruthers’ attack] has affected me in more ways than one… [I suffer from] repeated nightmares, visual and auditory triggers to references of skiing or snowboarding and paranoia,’ the NJ Herald said
Caruthers previously served probation after allegedly assaulting a man in Maryland in 2010 – a case later scratched from the record. He was involved in an altercation with a protester in 2013, but the case was later dismissed.
In a 45 minute address to Caruthers, the judge said he believed his actions on the slopes to be ‘an act of aggression and anger,’ not the act of self-defense he’d brazenly claimed earlier in the hearing.
Caruthers was convicted in April of third-degree child endangerment, assault, and fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon.
In addition to the total time of 72 hours in jail served over a three-year-period, he will serve three-years probation for each of the three charges he was convicted of.
Two-years probation will also be served on a disorderly persons offense of simply assault, with both of the probation terms running concurrently.
Caruthers will be required to undergo a thorough personality and psychological assessment, complete an anger management course, undergo 200 hours of community service and pay various court fines and fees.
While passing the sentence, Critchley acknowledged that a state prison sentence would’ve been an ‘overreaction’, considering all aspects of the case.
The Attorney General’s Office will now consider whether or not to revoke Caruthers’ medical license.
He currently has three active medical offices in Hamburg, Hackettstown and Boonton.