NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The man accused of punching a tourist so violently that it left him paralyzed will not spend any time behind bars, after striking a plea deal in court on Wednesday.
Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro says his office wanted the maximum sentence, six months behind bars for Christopher Smith, after both sides agreed to a simple battery charge.
But Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier, issued a suspended six-month sentence, meaning Smith won't spend any time in jail.
Smith was initially charged with second-degree battery after the October 2015 incident, in which he punched tourist Doug David twice.
David threw a beer can at Smith's vehicle in the Marigny after he says he thought the car was going to hit him.
The punches left David paralyzed.
David chose not to travel to New Orleans to testify given how fragile his health is, so without testimony, the charge was reduced.
Today, Judge Davillier told Smith in court this experience should serve as a learning opportunity.
Christopher Smith: "I'm just very sorry. If this guy can hear me now, hear my voice, Mr. Doug, I'm just very sorry," Smith said.
"We certainly asked the judge to impose a jail sentence in this case, she chose not to do that," Cannizzaro said. "She opted, as was within her legal right, she imposed a legal sentence and I'm just hopeful that we will not see this defendant again in the criminal justice system."
Smith must also serve two years of inactive probation and perform 100 hours of community service.
The judge asks that he speak to young people about consequences of actions.