The sentence that Star Valley businessman Roy George Haught received after he was found guilty of negligent homicide and aggravated assault for the death of James Cooper of Strawberry is under review by the Arizona Court of Appeals in Tucson.
Haught, 37, was found guilty by a jury last February on charges of negligent homicide and aggravated assault, offenses the jury classified as "dangerous crimes," which normally carry mandatory prison time.
A month later, however, Gila County Superior Court Judge Edd Dawson disregarded the jury's "dangerous crimes" findings so he could spare Haught prison time.
The judge, who said later that he was impressed by Haught's lengthy public service record, sentenced the 37-year-old to five years of probation.
The prosecution immediately announced its intention to appeal the sentencing decision, and formally filed an appeal last August.
"In our brief (for the appeal), we said that Haught tailgated Cooper to his house, Cooper and Haught got out of their cars and Cooper was uninjured at that time, Haught punched Cooper and kicked him, Cooper's family called the EMTs and he died," Gila County Attorney Jerry DeRose said. "The defense didn't contest any of that or the jury's verdict. They simply said that the judge had the right to make the decision that he did."
According to court records, the appeal went in for review Jan. 6. Court officials were unsure how long the review process will take.