Haught Sentencing Date Set For July 12

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A sentencing hearing has been set for Star Valley businessman Roy George Haught, who last month pleaded guilty to negligent homicide for his involvement in the 1997 death of James Cooper.

The Gila County Attorney's office has announced that Haught's sentencing is set for 10 a.m. Thursday, July 12 at the Gila County Superior Court in Globe. R. Douglas Holt, presiding judge of Graham County, will hand down the sentence.

During a May 17 court proceeding in the Gila County Superior Court in Globe, Haught pleaded guilty to negligent homicide for his role in the death of Cooper, a mechanic in Strawberry. A class 4 felony, negligent homicide carries a sentence that ranges from probation to three years and nine months in the Arizona Department of Corrections.

"We've entered into a plea agreement, but it's an Alford plea, which means that Roy doesn't admit that he's committed any crime," said Haught's Payson-based attorney, Art Lloyd, prior to the sentencing-date announcement.

"He wants to take the benefit of the plea agreement, and the reason for that is that he's already done his six months, he's been on intensive probation, and his probation's halfway over."

Haught, who owns a Star Valley excavating company, was found guilty in February 1999 of negligent homicide and aggravated assault crimes deemed by the jury to be "dangerous" in nature, a provision that requires prison time.

The sentencing judge, Superior Court Judge Edd Dawson disregarded the dangerous crimes element of the verdict and imposed a lighter sentence.

Haught was sentenced to six months in jail with credit for time served and placed on five years of probation.

Former Gila County Attorney Jerry DeRose, the chief prosecutor in the case at the time, immediately filed a motion with the Court of Appeals, which later ruled that "the trial court ... abused its discretion," and sent the case back for resentencing.

After Haught's counsel successfully requested a Supreme Court ruling, the Court of Appeals' decision was allowed to stand and the case was sent back to Gila County for resentencing.

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