Former District Attorney Richard Gray testified Tuesday that the deferred sentences he promised defendants in two murder and manslaughter cases should be granted.

Before leaving office, Gray had promised deferred sentences to James Leonard Allen Thomas and Eric Higgins, who are charged with second-degree murder and for Erin Hammer, who is charged in a separate case with first-degree manslaughter.

Gray’s successor, Jerry Moore said in court filings that a deferred sentence to second-degree murder is “outrageous, shocking and wholly without the underpinnings of justice.”

District Judge Jeff Payton took up the issue in a hearing in Adair County District court.

Gray said he promised all three defendants deferred sentences. He said he knew the families of the victims weren’t happy with that, but it was the best thing to do because the evidence would make the cases difficult to try. Thomas and Higgins are charged with second-degree murder in the October 2003 shooting death of James Hawley, 19.

Hammer is facing trial for first-degree manslaughter in the 2004 slaying of his cousin, Jason Hammer.

Donn Baker and Rex Earl Starr, attorneys for the three defendants, argued their clients deserved deferred sentences they were promised and relied upon.

Payton said he wants to review the cases and will make his decision within the next few weeks.



React to this story:

0
0
0
0
0

Recommended for you