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Man gets 34 years in murder with bat

Published Sep. 29, 2005

A Clearwater man convicted in June of second-degree murder was sentenced Friday to 34 years in state prison.

Joseph Glenn McNew, 23, was convicted June 10 of beating Sean Irvin to death with a baseball bat on Aug. 28, 1998,in an attack so vicious that McNew broke the bat while hitting the victim.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Philip Federico sentenced McNew to the maximum term allowed under state sentencing guidelines. He rejected arguments by prosecutors to exceed guidelines by giving McNew life in prison.

State guidelines called for a sentence of 20 to 34 years.

At the same time, the judge rejected a defense request that McNew receive a sentence below state guidelines.

Defense attorney Charles Holloway said McNew deserved a lesser sentence because Irvin was an aggressor during the confrontation with McNew and because the crime was committed in an unsophisticated manner.

Prosecutors said McNew waited in the parking lot of Coral Cove Apartments at 25 Belcher Road N and hit Irvin, 24, over the head three times with the bat, fracturing his skull. McNew lived at the apartments with his father.

Irvin lived at 1564 S Prospect Ave. with his wife, Shannon, and son Shane, 4.

Holloway told jurors during a three-day trial in June that his client was defending himself after Irvin threatened him during a telephone argument.

Prosecutors said Irvin was angry after his wife said during an argument that she was going to get McNew to beat him up.

Irvin called McNew and asked if he was having an affair with his wife. The two men argued, and Irvin said he was going to come to McNew's apartment to fight. McNew, police said, gave Irvin directions.

Police said McNew hid in a parking lot near his apartment and attacked Irvin without warning when he arrived. When questioned, authorities said, McNew made incriminating statements indicating his guilt.