Large crowds filled the courtrooms at both ends of the county Thursday, as two notorious court cases came to a close.
The case against Roy George Haught, which dragged on for 3 1/2 years, was finally settled, and he was sentenced to a year in jail for his role in the beating death of James Cooper.
Haught also will be eligible for work release, which would allow him to continue managing his Star Valley excavating company.
Raven Burlando, who spent a year battling her way through the courts for stealing more than one-quarter of a million dollars, was sentenced to four years in the Arizona Department of Corrections.
Some argue that the two sentences are signs of an obvious disparity of justice that sending a man guilty of negligent homicide to jail for a year while sending a woman guilty of theft to prison for four years is an outrage.
But the facts and extenuating circumstances in the two cases make them like apples and oranges. Both cases have been subjected to tremendous public scrutiny, both sentences were handed down by impartial judges.
Regardless of our feelings about these two cases, the community is now at a crossroads. The stones that have been cast have ricocheted, damaging relationships throughout the Rim country.
We can use these court decisions to continue the derision, bitterness and innuendo that whisper through coffee shops and gossip centers. Or, we can put the matters to rest, get on with our lives and begin the healing that the community, and the victims, so desperately need.
Jerry Thebado, reporter