Randy Lee Baskerville was in court again Thursday morning asking for shock probation after being found guilty May 11, 2012, of fourth degree assault and sentenced to one year in jail for hitting 50-year-old Jerry Crowley, who later died as a result.
Shock probation, if granted, would allow Baskerville to be released from jail early. District Judge Sue Carol Browning would not grant the request Thursday, telling Baskerville’s attorney he would need to file a motion. The case was rescheduled to Wednesday, June 27.
Shock probation is the policy by which a judge orders a convicted offender to prison for a short time then suspends the remainder of the sentence in favor of probation. Shock probation is governed by federal and state laws, which vary by jurisdiction. Shock probation allows defendants an opportunity to receive probation after a short period of time in a correctional facility. The theory underlying shock probation is that immersing a defendant in the penal system for a short period of time could ‘shock’ him or her into a noncriminal lifestyle.
Like other forms of probation, shock probation is a matter of privilege rather than a right or entitlement. As with any decision to award probation or suspend sentence, the decision to grant shock probation is granted as an act of grace to one convicted of a crime.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” said Crowley’s sister Debbie Torricellas. “How can you do something like this, get a sentence so small and then have a chance to get out of jail? My mom hasn’t even had time to put Jerry’s headstone out. We haven’t even had time to grieve quietly, we keep having to relive this nightmare.”
According to testimony, Baskerville was walking down a Russellville street on the way to a friends house on July 11, 2011, when he threw a bottle of alcohol on the lawn of Jerry and Kerri Crowley of Russellville. According to Baskerville, he did this after seeing a Logan County Sheriff’s cruiser and was afraid of getting into trouble. Baskerville said he picked up the bottle and continued to walk down the street towards his friend’s house with Mrs. Crowley “on his heels” cussing at him for throwing the bottle. When Baskerville reached the house where Jerry Crowley was an altercation broke out between the two men.
Baskerville admitted to hitting Crowley once maybe twice because he felt threatened. Baskerville said Crowley never hit him but said he made a gesture towards him. Crowley never regained consciousness and died five days later. According to the medical examiner’s report, Crowley died of blunt force trauma. Baskerville is the only witness to the incident. Crowley’s wife Kerri died a few months later a result of cancer.
“I just want to grieve for my son and I can’t grieve for him as I have to continue to fight for him,” said Gayle Post, mother of Jerry Crowley. “Why can’t he just man up and do his time for what he did.”
Baskerville was initially charged by the Commonwealth Attorney with first degree assault, which is a felony offense carrying up to 20 years in prison. However, the case was taken back to the grand jury who lowered the charge to fourth degree assault. According to the September 2011 indictment against Baskerville, he was also being charged with being a persistent felony offender. He had been previously been convicted of two counts of first degree wanton endangerment in Logan County and received five years. He was also convicted of first degree fleeing and evading police and three counts of first degree wanton endangerment in Barren County and received two years and theft of over $300 in Todd County and received 20 years.
Because Baskerville’s most recent case involving Crowley was changed from first degree assault, a felony charge to a misdemeanor charge, Baskerville’s status as a persistent felony offender did not come into play.