The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

Sentencing Hearing #2


Two weeks after the October 7, 2015,  hearing, we were back in the same room before the same judge. This time Jacob was wearing his suit wrinkled from storage in the jail, the same suit he was wearing the day the jury convicted him in July. It was the same suit he would be wearing on the day of his release in May 2016. It would have the same wrinkles and look of uncared for clothing and give Jacob an odd appearance with his unkempt scruffy beard and hair that he grew in those last months in jail. He has looked older than his years for a while now and especially so on that day of spring release.

At this hearing, the accuser did not speak; his statement was read to the court that asserted stress and fights with family members and school problems and more PTSD since he made the accusations. His mother asked for the longest sentence allowed by law while months earlier she and Jacob’s ex-wife reportedly asked the District Attorney to make a deal which would have resulted in reduced charges and possibly a much lighter sentence than he received, making deal-making a very understandable option. The ex-father-in-law also supposedly requested the District Attorney make a deal.

You have a right to trial and no viable options to try to prove your innocence, yet you will likely be penalized more harshly if you do exercise that right. The deal saves time, money and the accuser from testifying. You make the job easier for those prosecuting you. So you are held responsible and punishable for all the trouble and extra work you incurred by going to trial and then losing anyway. You should have sought out, researched the deal because everywhere you turn you seem to be faced with an alternate reality of guilty until proven innocent. And unfortunately, Jacob was not able to convince the jury of his innocence at trial. So in hindsight, you ask if a deal would have given a livable resolution. Is accepting guilt for something you didn’t do livable? That is a question many deal-makers might be able to answer.

The speaker to have the last word or was it the first word? It’s no-never-you-mind. Standing at the podium was Jacob’s blue-haired ex-wife clutching a Bible while reading from her bright-pink-inked statement in a show of thespian flamboyance. Here was the wife who with days of opportunity never once confronted her husband with the accusations of what this accuser said had gone on in her own home right under her nose. Here was Jacob’s wife who spent their last week together as wife and husband packing for their agreed-upon separation as she waited for the police to pounce without warning upon her husband. There never was a confrontation of husband and wife, the end of a marriage left only to court testimony as if their bad marriage had contributed in some way to what was accused. In fact, she had no evidence of anything, her accusations simply that, accusations of a marriage and nothing else. She was always the one with the last word. Her cell phone messages of pretended wifely concern were the last words of a wife that Jacob listened to in Roy’s truck when we picked him up at the Allegheny County Jail a week after his arrest. An actress in marriage, arrest, trial and now here on this day. Here was the other Mrs. Yockey. Here was the woman who kept the name of the man she called a pedophile, a name that could easily have been relinquished with the signing of the divorce papers.

Her statement was as expected, calling Jacob the names of someone convicted of sex crimes. She quoted my words from posts, twisting them to call me a victim-blamer and a mother admitting her son was lying. She seemed to forget that the judge had read much of my written word too. I suppose it could be an honor to be quoted, even out of context. They were to be the arrow turned back on me just as my words are as an arrow at her, probably missing the mark. I have no respect for a woman who only saw opportunity in such a terrible thing for others. Her words echoed to me of dishonesty and lack of originality.

Jacob signed the Megan’s Law agreement listing the restrictions of his paroled life that would take away so many opportunities to earn a living. The Parole Officer later said that lots of people do not use the Internet. It is hard for me to imagine my life without the Internet that has become systemic in all facets of my life. It is used for us even if we don’t use it. In a later hearing, the judge would ask if a possible promotion involved the use of Intranet or Internet, one allowable, the other not.

The judge passed her sentence prefacing the reading of the sentence by saying that neither the Yockey family or the accuser’s family would be happy. We had not been happy from the moment of arrest so that really went without saying that we were not going to be happy. She called this [case] ‘typical’. As I write more and more, there are certain words I have begun to hate to use. Typical is one of those because it lumps things together without consideration that something that might seem typical really is atypical, abnormal, uncommon, unusual. What happened from beginning to end was not typical for us. Typical was the same reasoning of the police when they explained why they collected no DNA evidence or why the accuser had not been given a forensic exam. My son’s case is not typical. At the issuing of the sentencing, the door out of the courtroom slammed. I thought it was my ex-daughter-in-law sitting behind us. Jacob’s friend told me later that my ex-daughter-in-law left after making her statement (hit and run) and that it was the accuser’s mother who slammed out leaving her son sitting alone in the courtroom.

So off Jacob went back to jail on a county sentence. I visited once and sometimes twice a week in the next months unless the jail was on lockdown. He made daily phone calls to me unless they were also suspended. They were expenses that I willingly took on and ones others cannot afford. So Jacob sat in the Allegheny County Jail as I man I call innocently convicted among many other presumed innocent people awaiting trials or deals to be made, all treated in the same way. Jacob’s release came in May but the threat of re-incarceration always looms. How very odd that it no longer seems like the worst thing that could happen. I would again adjust my life to visits and phone calls and maintaining his house and caring for the animals. I accept this burden, this responsibility, this honor, this role, this task, this life. OMG. It is what it is. Does that statement describe just about everything in life?  


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