Tony Farmer, an 18-year-old senior, crumpled into the arms of a sheriff's deputy and slumped to the floor in painful anguish as the Judge announced his punishment, a three-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to kidnapping and felonious assault.
The video shows the look of shock on Farmer's face as the Cuyahoga County Court Judge Pamela Barker, sentenced him to three years for a kidnapping offense he committed in April. Stunned, he asks his lawyer Joe Dubyak, "I got three years?" After the judge sentenced him two years for felonious assault and two years for robbery, he collapsed on the floor, apparently thinking he was going to prison for seven years.
As court officers struggled to pull the handcuffed 220 pound senior at Garfield Heights High School to his feet, the judge said from the bench, "I haven't finished yet." His lawyer Dubyak, said: "Tony, come on Tony, It's not as bad as you think it is."
When Farmer finally stood up, Barker announced he would serve his jail terms concurrently, meaning he would serve only three years in prison.
Viewers have commented on how painful and distressing the courtroom scene is. Many consider Farmer's case pathetic because he is a young man with a bright future in major college basketball. According to Hollywood Gossip, he was ranked as one of the top 100 high school basketball recruits and he has received offers from several major college programs, including Michigan State, Illinois and Xavier. According to Fox8, the 18-year-old was named Second Team All-Ohio for the 2011-12 season by The Associated Press.
Now, instead of looking through scholarship offers and selecting a school with the hope of launching a basket ball career, he may have to spend the next three years in jail.
Cleveland Plain Dealer reports the charges of kidnapping, felonious assault, robbery and intimidating a victim arose from a quarrel he had with his ex-girlfriend Andrea Lane, in the lobby and parking lot of her apartment complex in Bedford Heights. Farmer assaulted Lane, dragging her by the hair. Cleveland Plain Dealer reports prosecutors say he took her cell phone, bank card, computer and car keys. He was also charged with intimidation for sending threatening text messages and voicemails to his ex.
Yahoo! News reports Farmer had hoped he would receive a probation after teachers, coaches and family members testified on his behalf. Hollywood Gossip reports that when he spoke in court, he apologized to the victim and her family and pleaded with the judge to allow him finish high school so he could earn a basketball scholarship. He commented on his own behalf, "I am not really a bad kid."
An odd twist in Farmer's case was that the victim, ex-girlfriend Andrea Lane, was among friends and relatives who sobbed and howled in reaction to the judges decision. According to Fox8, Lane had provided an impact statement on Farmer’s behalf prior to his sentencing. She had pleaded with Judge Pamela Barker not to put her ex in prison. She said: "I know he was a good person. I hope he still is."
Bill Mason, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, says Farmer can file for judicial release after 180 days in prison.
Yahoo News comments that "the punishment he received from Barker is just yet severe. Unless Barker reduces Farmer's sentence when she reviews it in 180 days, his hopes of playing major college basketball are likely now over."