Roy George Haught is out of jail seven months early.
The Star Valley businessman was released Dec. 23 after serving five months of a 12-month jail sentence for his involvement in the 1997 death of Strawberry mechanic James Cooper.
"On Nov. 5, Judge Douglas Holt issued an order clarifying the order of sentencing" said Haught's probation officer, Ben Albright, reading from the court order Thursday. "A Rule 32 was filed, and the judge ordered (Haught) to get credit for 180 days previously served on the house arrest program. Then the court found that the defendant had served 116 days of incarceration up to and including Oct. 17, 2001.
"The court ordered that the last day of incarceration shall be Dec. 23, 2001," Albright said.
In the Gila County Courthouse in Globe last July 12, Haught was sentenced to one year in jail minus credit for 23 days of incarceration by Holt, as well as two years of "standard probation" consecutive to the two-and-a-half years he had already accumulated. He checked into the Payson jail Aug. 1, and shortly afterward he was granted work release allowing the owner of Roy Haught Excavating in Star Valley to leave jail during his regular work hours.
Albright said, in his opinion, Haught's early release was brought about when his legal representative, Payson lawyer Art Lloyd, "appealed the (sentence), and the judge ruled that (Haught) should have received credit for time served" in the house arrest program.
"We had a hearing, the judge made a ruling and determined (Dec. 23) was the release date," said Jim Hazel, the former Gila County Attorney who Jan. 1 was sworn in as a superior court judge. "We appeared at that hearing and argued that (Haught) shouldn't be given credit for certain time he was on the work-release program ... We opposed it, but the judge granted it."
Haught did not return calls to the Roundup by press time.