TAYLOR COUNTY—After entering a guilty plea in September, a defendant was ready to face his sentence in Taylor County Circuit Court last week, but unfortunately, the judge’s ruling would have to wait.
On September 3, Jeffrey Farmer and his council, Tyler Reseter, presented to the court a plea negotiation entered into with the state of West Virginia. In the agreement, Farmer agreed to plead guilty to third-degree sexual assault.
During the hearing, the Honorable Judge Alan D. Moats allowed the defendant’s supervised bond through the Taylor County Community Corrections Program to continue, with the stipulation that he would be regularly drug tested.
Tammy Narog, the program’s director, submitted a report to the court that Farmer had continued to actively use drugs while on supervision. She was able to secure a bed for the defendant at West Virginia University’s Center for Hope and Healing.
She further revealed that after his release from the program, Farmer continued his drug habit, choosing to use amphetamines, methamphetamine, Xanax and Oxycodone.
Reseter revealed to the court that initially it was their desire to petition the court for an alternative sentence.
“It is clear that my client has a drug problem, so we will be asking that he be permitted to attend a drug rehabilitation center,” Reseter said. “Mr. Farmer has freely admitted to his charges. He will be on the sex offender registry and will already be subject to extended supervision.”
On behalf of his client, Reseter was asking that Farmer be sentenced to the Anthony Correctional Center, which primarily houses male and female young adult offenders between the ages of 18-25.
Although Farmer had initially told the court that he desired to apologize for his crime that harmed both his victim and her family, Moats questioned his motives.
“What has changed? In your pre-sentence report you stated that your punishment was an injustice and that it was ‘ruining the rest of your life when no one got hurt, just because you stepped out of line,’” Moats asked.
Farmer said that the statements he made in the report were wrong and that he had some additional time to think about his actions and their recourse to the victim and her family.
“In this report, you make yourself out of be the victim,” Moats voiced.
The defendant noted that he was homeless during the time of his crime, because he had been kicked out of his home, something his mother said wasn’t completely accurate. She revealed to the court that her and her husband were separating, and she moved to Ohio, leaving Farmer behind.
“He couldn’t come with me and then his father just went off and did his own thing, so Jeffrey was left on his own,” she said.
Moats noted that Farmer was accused of showing the 14-year-old female fuzzy handcuffs, being brutally mean to her and threatening to blackmail her family if she didn’t cooperate with him.
“She has reported that she has thought of trying to commit suicide because of your actions,” Moats revealed. “How many times have you thought about killing yourself?”
Farmer revealed that he had suffered from mental disorders and had been in and out of counseling and treatment for years for suicidal thoughts.
“Then why would you do this to someone else,” Moats questioned. “You say that no one got hurt, but this child lives in fear. She has nightmares about you. You threatened her family and cut yourself in front of her. Your actions live on in her dreams.”
Moats voiced that it was his belief that any drug treatment would be rendered useless unless Farmer was also being treated for his mental disorders, including being bipolar.
“Bipolar and other disorders coupled with drug use are a very serious situation. They play off one another. You need to have dual treatment,” he said. “My question is, does the Anthony Center have any programs to address both issues? Because, doing one without the other is meaningless.”
Reseter said that he would have to look into the programs available at the center.
“This young man was left with no place to go to, no support and is now facing time in prison,” Moats said. “Mental illness is something that require support and he was just left to his own devices.”
Moats was adamant that both the mental disorder and drug use needed to be addressed, and he said that support was something that was going to have to be present during the victim’s treatment.
“You say that he just made a mistake, well he made one heck of a mistake,” expressed Moats. “It wasn’t a mistake, what he did was a crime.”
The judge ordered that he would continue sentencing until the probation office was able to make contact with the Anthony Center to see if both underlying issues could be treated dually.