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POSTED: Thursday, November 20, 2008

Two men who pleaded guilty to setting off a homemade bomb that blew a hole through an 11-year-old girl's hand just after midnight on New Year's Eve 2005 will spend 28 days in jail between them on weekends.

 

;[Preview]  Men Injured Girl, Only Gets Weekends In Jail
 

  Cydnee Somera cries after hearing the sentences of Joelson Ea and Marc Bantolina. Both men injured Somera by what prosecutors claim was a home-made bomb. 

 

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  Circuit Judge Richard Perkins sentenced Joelson G. Ea, 38, and Marc B. Bantolina, 39, to five years' probation yesterday. Perkins also ordered Ea to serve 12 consecutive weekends in jail and Bantolina two consecutive weekends, as conditions of their probation.

“;The jail terms are more for deterrent purposes, to deter other people, than it is to impress upon you folks,”; Perkins told Ea and Bantolina.

Perkins said he believes the defendants have learned from their experience, are genuinely remorseful and are unlikely to commit the same or any other crime in the future.

Cydnee Somera, 15, the girl injured in the blast, expressed disappointment with the sentences.

“;I think they deserved a little bit more—actually a lot more—jail time than that,”; she said. “;I don't think probation is acceptable to me.”;

Her father, Sidney Somera, said he does not believe the sentences Perkins handed down will cause anyone to think twice before doing the same thing.

“;I think he diminished the severity of this case and has damaged the deterrence,”; he said.

Ea and Bantolina must begin serving their jail terms on the first weekend of next year.

Perkins also ordered Ea to perform 250 hours of community service and Bantolina, 100 hours. And they must split $1,181 in restitution for the wages Cydnee's mother lost having to care for her.

The Someras settled in 2006 a lawsuit they filed against Ea and Bantolina for Cydnee's medical bills and other claims.

But Cydnee says the experience has been a hardship on her family and has hurt her physically and mentally.

“;The first week I had nightmares,”; she said. “;Every time I closed my eyes, I would always see a pool of blood on my hand streaming down to my leg.”;

Cydnee's left hand, damaged by the blast when she raised it to shield her face, has required six surgeries and might require more.

She says she cannot spread or close her fingers as she used to, and her hand cramps even when she is not doing anything.

She has resumed playing hockey but says she cannot grip the hockey stick as well as before.

Ea pleaded guilty in July to second-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangering and third-degree criminal property damage. Bantolina pleaded no contest to first-degree reckless endangering.

Neither man has said what they used to cause the explosion.

However, Deputy Prosecutor Franklin Pacarro Jr. said the state believes the men placed an acetylene-filled balloon into a bucket, covered it with a metal weightlifting plate and ignited the balloon.