County Attorney Joe Ross filed a motion with the district court last week to revoke the probation of Randy Lee Baskerville of Russellville. According to Ross, Baskerville admitted to using methamphetamine to his probation officer.
Baskerville was granted “shock” probation in July 2012, by District Judge Sue Carol Browning after being found guilty in May of a misdemeanor, in which he went to trial for an altercation that occurred a year before between he and Jerry Crowley, which resulted in Crowley’s death. Shock probation is the policy by which a judge orders a convicted offender to prison for a short time then suspends the remainder of the sentence in favor of probation.
“When shock probation was initially requested, I strongly opposed the motion based upon the facts of the case and his criminal history. When I got notice that he had used Meth while on probation, I filed this motion immediately. The only option that I felt was appropriate under the circumstances was for Mr. Baskerville to serve the remainder of his sentence,” said Ross.
Judge Browning didn’t say much Wednesday when Ross’s motion was before her. She reviewed Mr. Ross’s motion and asked if Baskerville’s attorney, Nat Beard, a public defender, had anything to add. Beard told Browning his client had been employed with a masonry business. The judge then revoked his parole, sending him to jail.
Baskerville stuck Crowley, who was 50, once or twice when an altercation broke out between the two men shortly after Baskerville threw a bottle of alcohol on Crowley’s front yard. Crowley never regained consciousness and died as a result of blunt force trauma five days later.
Baskerville was originally charged with assault first degree, a felony that carries up to a 20 years sentence; however, Commonwealth Attorney Gail Guiling said she didn’t think she could get a conviction on that charge, which would require her to prove Baskerville intentionally meant to kill Crowley, so she took the case back to the grand jury who lowered the charge. Baskerville claims he was defending himself, however, he admitted that he was never struck.
The conditions of Baskerville’s “shock” probation was no drugs, alcohol or illegal activity, no contact with the victim’s family and at least a part-time job within 30 days.
Baskerville had told Browning in 2012 when she granted shock probation, that he had changed his life and he was ready for a new one. He said he was finished with alcohol and that he knew the judge was putting a whole lot on the line for him by letting him out of jail.
Baskerville will now serve out his time of six months in the Logan County Detention Center.
Crowley’s family, who were extremely upset with the charge change from a felony to a misdemeanor, were also upset that Baskerville was given shock probation. Crowely’s sister Debbie Torricellas and mother Gayle Post felt justice had not been served in their loved one’s death. They also felt by allowing shock probation it was saying nothing bad enough had been done wrong and that their loved one’s life was worth nothing.
“My mother and I, and the rest of our family, are still numb from what has taken place over the past year. We still morn our Jerry and feel the justice system let us and him down. But we are glad to see that Mr. Baskerville will now be returning to jail where we think he belongs. It is not enough time, but at least he isn’t walking the streets as if nothing happened and as if he wasn’t responsible for talking the life of our Jerry,” said Torricellas.