Man gets 14 years in beating of girlfriend

WARREN – A 52-year-old Warren man questioned a judge on why he was called a ”career criminal” before the judge sentenced him to 14 years behind bars Wednesday.

A jury in November found Derrick Cobb guilty of felonious assault and kidnapping.

Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge W. Wyatt McKay could have handed down a maximum sentence of 18 years on the first and second-degree charges. Instead, the judge handed down consecutive seven-year sentences on the two charges, while labeling Cobb a career criminal.

When Cobb asked the judge why, McKay told him it was just his own opinion.

It was McKay who placed Cobb on probation in 1986 when he was charged with robbery. Cobb violated his parole, and he was sentenced to serve four to 15 years in prison. Then in 2004, McKay sent Cobb to prison on another robbery. Cobb also did time on a drug charge, according to his attorney.

The most recent case is in connection with the beating of a girlfriend more than a year ago.

Debora Roberts of Champion told jurors she was dating Cobb for a couple months when the two were visiting friends and drinking heavily Dec. 20, 2011. She said Cobb accused her of hiding cocaine or money to buy drugs when an argument broke out in the Delaware Avenue S.W. home where Cobb was staying with his brother.

”He hit me and kicked me. He said he was going to kill me,” said Roberts, who told jurors she took off all her clothes to prove she wasn’t hiding anything, then running outside.

She said Cobb grabbed her by her hair and dragged her.

Assistant county prosecutor Diane Barber showed the jury a series of photos taken during a four-day stay at the hospital where Roberts was treated for two black eyes, a broken nose and broken ribs.

Roberts said at one point Cobb pulled out a knife and threatened her, but he put the weapon away.

Cobb claimed he threw Roberts out of the house and he had no idea how she got beat up.

Roberts admitted to the jury that she too served a six-month prison term, hers on a probation violation stemming from a felony conviction for passing bad checks.