Discussion in 'Haleigh Cummings' started by Angel Who Cares, Apr 27, 2010.
2010.04.28 - Today's Current News - ***NO DISCUSSIONS HERE PLEASE ***
Cummings' cousin gets 15 years in drug case
Misty's attorney not sure what sentence means to his client
Posted: April 28, 2010 - 12:11am
"Snip" By Dana Treen http://staugustine.com/news/local-news/2010-04-28/cummings-cousin-gets-15-years-drug-case
Hope Sykes' tearful pleas weren't enough to stave off a 15-year prison sentence in a drug-trafficking case.
Her mood was in stark contrast to the angry defiance the judge heard in a phone call Hope Sykes made to her mother last month after agreeing to plead no contest to the trafficking charge.
After Sykes' sentencing, Misty Croslin's attorney, Robert Fields, said it was difficult to weigh what the 15-year prison term meant to his client's case.
"I'll have to digest it," he said. "Judges rule on a case-by-case basis and this is a different case."
Judge LaRue said he ordered the minimum mandatory sentence because Sykes sold drugs within weeks of being released from jail on an earlier drug charge.
Sykes had been out of jail less than two weeks on a possession charge when she was arrested in the trafficking case, which LaRue said disqualified her for youthful offender consideration that would have meant a much shorter sentence.
"I don't want to live this life no more," Sykes said before LaRue imposed the sentence. She admitted making light of the first arrest after she was let out of jail on her own recognizance.
"I thought, 'OK, the drugs are still out there,' " she said.
LaRue said the youthful offender statute is for young people who are pressured or led astray by peers.
"That's not the case here," he said. The later charge was more serious than a second possession arrest.
"What she did was engage in trafficking," he said.
Hope Sykes and family were shaken and tears ran as her mother buried her face in her hands. More than half a dozen people spoke in Sykes' behalf, which her attorney, Marcella Beeching, told the judge attested to a "fantastic support system."
Sykes needed drug rehabilitation and did not have a serious criminal record, her attorney said.
"There is no violence in her background," Beeching said.
Prosecutor Jacquelyn Roys requested the minimum mandatory sentence, played the recorded jail call for the judge, with Sykes profanely railing against any stiff sentence, and said Sykes was an active participant in the drug sale.
"Stupid us if we let her out, because she already told us what was going to happen," Roys said.
Beeching has 30 days to appeal the sentence.<snipped>
Hope Sykes pleaded no contest to one count of trafficking prescription narcotics and gets 15-year sentence.
By Cindy Swirko Staff writer
Published: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Sheriff's Lt. Johnny Greenwood said Tuesday the investigation of Haleigh's disappearance is ongoing with no new breaks.
At the hearing Tuesday morning, Friends and relatives asked for leniency, saying Sykes had learned her lesson. They pledged to support Sykes in her effort to continue her education and stay out of trouble.
Assistant State Attorney Jacquelyn Roys pointed out that Sykes was arrested Jan. 3 on an unrelated drug possession charge, yet continued to be involved with drug activity after being released on that charge, leading to her second arrest.
Judge LaRue cited Sykes' violation of the terms of her release for the drug possession charge as a factor in his decision to give her 15 years.
Both Sykes and her many relatives and friends who were in the courtroom seemed surprised by the sentence.
Cummings was on the witness list and was in the courtroom on Tuesday but he was not called to testify.
Chris Kelly, a spokesman for the 7th Circuit State Attorney's Office, said prosecutors had no comment on Sykes' sentence because of the pending cases against the others.
Kelly added he is not aware of any negotiations on plea agreements for the other defendants.
James Werter, attorney for Tommy Croslin, said the sentence given to Sykes would not impact the handling of his client's case.
"It's different charges, different degrees, different score sheets - the whole nine yards," Werter said.
Hope Sykes sentenced for her part in drug transaction
Wednesday, April 28, 2010 2:20 AM EDT
Hope Sykes, a relative of Haleigh Cummings, was sentenced to 15 years behind bars Tuesday morning for one count of drug trafficking. Her family looked on as she stood before a nearly full courtroom, turning to peer into the crowd as her grandmother held another family member, crying as the 18-year-old's sentence was announced.
Sykes faced one count of trafficking in Hydrocodone following a monthlong narcotics investigation that led to the arrest of her and four others, including Haleigh's father, 26-year-old Ronald Cummings and 18-year-old Misty Croslin. Sykes was the only one to plead no contest to the charges.
Her attorney sought a youthful offender consideration in an effort to reduce Sykes' sentence. Circuit Judge Terry LaRue said she was not eligible because she was 18 at the time of the transaction and was on parole for possession charges when the arrest was made.
"The youthful statute is helpful in many cases to place youthful offenders in which they had no or little control - but that's not the case here," LaRue said.
Video: Cousin gets 15 years 2:34
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