Haymon receives reduced sentence
HUNTINGTON -- One minute Christopher Haymon thought he was going to spend the next 18 years of his life in prison for his involvement in a 2012 burglary.
About half an hour later, he learned he would be going to the Anthony Correctional Center in White Sulphur Springs as an alternative sentence handed down in Cabell Circuit Court by Judge Paul T. Farrell. He could be free in as little as six months.
Haymon pleaded no contest to burglary charges in connection with an armed break-in at a residence in the 1500 block of 4th Avenue in Huntington in March 2012.
Two other individuals, James Anthony Mitchell, and Alexa Michelle Sang, were indicted in connection with the robbery. A fourth individual believed to be involved could not be identified.
Sang pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy, and Mitchell also took a plea deal, but a warrant is out for his arrest because he didn't show up at the plea hearing.
Haymon, 24, has spent the past two years in the Western Regional Jail.
Prosecutors said at the sentencing that Haymon had repeatedly rejected plea deals, and had delayed the progress of the case with continual requests to change attorneys. The prosecution added that Haymon has never accepted responsibility for his actions, even in entering a plea in the case, taking a Kennedy plea where he did not have to admit guilt.
Farrell was ready to agree with the prosecution, despite Haymon's request for alternative sentencing.
"I apologize. I am deeply sorry for putting everyone in this situation," Haymon said. "I've been in jail for two years and that has given me ample time to realize that I need to re-direct my life to where I should have been. I'm not a bad person. I'm not a boogie man."
In response, Farrell was frank.
"You committed a crime with a gun and you put other people in danger," he said. "Over the years, your criminal history has escalated. I think 18 years is an appropriate sentence."
Haymon sat alone in the front row of the courtroom after hearing his fate, staring ahead and occasionally wiping away a tear.
Meanwhile, his attorney, John Proctor, worked furiously, meeting with prosecutors in the hall and talking with Haymon's older brother, Antonio Haymon -- a former Marshall University basketball player and overseas professional who has played in leagues in Saudi Arabia, Romania and Libya. Farrell denied letting Antonio Haymon speak on his brother's behalf during the sentencing.
After Farrell had finished the majority of his criminal docket, he met with Proctor and prosecutors in his chambers.
When they had emerged, it was revealed that when the prosecution argued against alternative sentencing during the hearing, it was a violation of Christopher Haymon's plea agreement.
At that point, Farrell suspended the 18-year sentence and ordered Haymon to complete the program at the Anthony Center, which is designed to help young offenders gain the skills to re-enter society and not re-offend.
"If everything goes perfect, it'll be six months, if not, two years," Farrell said. "If they send you back, it's 18 years."
Haymon said he wouldn't waste the opportunity.
"Your honor, I have a lot riding on this," he said.
"You do, and when you get there the only words out of your mouth should be 'Yes sir' and 'No sir,'" Farrell said.
Follow reporter Ben Fields on Twitter @BenFieldsHD
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