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BREAKING: Sowers arraigned in court

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It was an emotional Wednesday morning in Clay Circuit Court, as Jessie Allen Sowers was formally arraigned for his alleged involvement in the death of Haley Bryan on New Year's Day.

Bryan, 17, Clay City, died at St. Vincent Clay Hospital of an alleged overdose after she and three friends smoked the drug contained in a stolen Fentanyl Transdermal System pain patch.

"This is about as devastating as it gets," Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout told The Brazil Times after the court proceedings.

Appearing without an attorney, Sowers, who turned 18-years-old in December, and his family members, struggled to fight back tears as Trout took the time to explain each step of the court proceedings and the charges in detail.

He was formally charged with (count 1) class B felony dealing or delivering a controlled schedule 1 substance, (count 2) class D felony possession of a controlled substance, (count 3) class D felony conspiracy to commit theft, two class A misdemeanor charges (counts 4 and 5) of false informing and interference with the reporting of a crime and (count 6) a class B misdemeanor charge of visiting a common nuisance.

A class B felony, the highest charge filed against Sowers at this time, is punishable with a prison sentence for a guilty conviction/plea agreement ranging from 6-20 years (with an advisory by the state recommendation of 10 years) and potential fines up to $10,000. A class D felony is punishable with six months-3 years in prison and potential fines up to $10,000.

The punishment for a class A misdemeanor conviction is 0-1 year in prison and up to a $5,000 fine, while the sentence for a class B misdemeanor conviction is 0-180 days and a potential fine of $1,000.

Trout also explained that, after taking into consideration the aggravating and mitigating circumstances of the case, sentences could run consecutive (each sentence to run after another without interruption) or concurrent (all sentences served simultaneously or side by side).

Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger said his office was researching the matter to make a future recommendation to the court. However, he believed preliminary information indicates sentences ordered on counts 1, 2 and 6 could run concurrent, while counts 3, 4 and 5 could be ordered to run consecutive.

Sowers entered a not guilty plea in court and requested an attorney from the public defender's office.

Trout appointed Matthew Effner to the case and tentatively scheduled a jury trial for April 12.

In the matter of Sowers current $25,000 cash bond (with no 10 percent allowed), Reberger used the state's guidelines to point out the serious nature of the allegations, the fact the investigation continues and toxicology results are pending to request the bond remain the same.

Although Trout agreed and remanded Sowers back into the custody of the Clay County Sheriff's Department, he told Sowers the court would notify Effner immediately so that he could begin working on the case as soon as possible.

A no contact order was also issued in the case so that Sowers, if released, would not have any contact with the other two juveniles alleged to be involved in the case.

Appearing in Clay Circuit Court for a detention hearing Tuesday, the two 17-year-old juvenile suspects -- a male and a female -- are waiting for formal allegations to be filed in the matter. According to Reberger, the court gave the state 72 hours to file petitions alleging juvenile delinquency by the youths in each of pending matters.

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just heart wrenching for everyone involved.

-- Posted by ape1 on Wed, Jan 6, 2010, at 3:48 PM

It is heart wrenching but I also feel the juveniles should be charged the same.

-- Posted by confused33 on Wed, Jan 6, 2010, at 6:46 PM

A life has been lost. Had just one of them called 911 - perhaps her life could have been saved. THEY WAITED FOR AN HOUR. Yes, all four made the decision to use drugs. But three of them are the reason she didn't get a chance to be saved.

-- Posted by acw on Wed, Jan 6, 2010, at 7:33 PM

Drugs KIll doesn't matter sex or age. SAY NO 2 DRUGS. I pitty people whom Do drugs. I dont feel sorry, drugs is a choice!

-- Posted by Sand mann on Wed, Jan 6, 2010, at 8:16 PM

Young people believe they are invincible. I did at one time. One of the saddest parts of this story is that her friends will mourn their loss for several weeks, then it'll be party time as usual. Kids forget too fast. This can't happen to them.

In Christ...

-- Posted by Dagnabbit on Wed, Jan 6, 2010, at 8:20 PM


-- Posted by GO HOOSIERS on Wed, Jan 6, 2010, at 9:43 PM

I don't think we have to publicly stone the families who are involved in the horrible event. They have and are going to have to face the issues that brought their kids to this point.

I believe in consequences, not because they "have it coming" but without consequences for our actions we only fall deeper into the abyss. They may have "gotten away" with drug use in the past, but oh the horror of not getting away with it now.

The family of Haley is facing something I can't even imagine. I hope they can find a way to heal and eventually use this tragedy to help others. Her death does not have to be in vain.

To the other children in this sad story I hope any time they have to serve is used to get clean and get their lives back on track. I hope they also will speak to their peers about avoiding the mistakes they made.

No kid this young is a throw away. But because others are watching, because they clearly need help, they will have to face the legal side of their actions.

Drugs do affect generations in families and it is a legacy they need to stop. Drugs also enters into families who never faced it before, and they have to aggressively deal with it. I don't know which is true in these childrens' lives and I don't need to know. This can happen to any of our children, no family is immune.

The only thing that will stop drug abuse is one person taking a stand against it at a time. There is no other cure. What other example do we need than the one in front of us on how awful and entrenched this problem is?

The lives of four children in our community are forever changed or taken from drug use. The best we can do is stop and feel the tragedy, and then turn to our own families and do whatever it takes to prevent the waste of life.

-- Posted by localgal on Wed, Jan 6, 2010, at 10:46 PM

Localgal..you said it all and said it well!

-- Posted by dlm5148 on Thu, Jan 7, 2010, at 12:32 AM

I couldnt leave it without posting my opinion for (Deep thoughts) who do you think you are? White trash you called the family, Who made you judge & jury, what makes you better? All men are created equal, everyone makes bad choices at some point in their lives. I remember this upstanding family as a child, when i used to go mushroom hunting on great grandpas woods. They were very good people. As society judges our families by the status and what one family member does, the youth gets tagged as "white trash". This was the worst that could have happened. And yes they should have responded quicker. Did we never have a friend get drunk or high and lay down and sleep it off. Is this what they thought was happening. We were not there, we dont know the whole story. Why is one CHILD, an adult by law because of a few weeks. But yet the same mentally and maturity of his peers with him condemned alone. As localgal said, a waste of lives, not only beloved Haley, but the 3 children that will never be the same because they were bored one January night. God be with the families of all these children and help them get through this. Rather than name calling lets find a way to stop this from happening again.

-- Posted by mamawpam on Thu, Jan 7, 2010, at 4:24 AM

I honestly hope the other three will never be the same. Hopefully this will turn their lives around. I know Jesse, and one of the juveniles, and I hope for them, and their families sake, they send a message to their friends and family members how dangerous drugs can be! This is a tragedy for the entire community and I pray something good, if that is possible, can come from this.

-- Posted by bikerlady on Thu, Jan 7, 2010, at 7:03 AM

I feel sorry for the parents of Haley. But, as parents we need to keep involved in our childrens' lives and know that they are using drugs. I also feel sorry for Sowers for slightly being the adult in the group.

I do hope the Judge takes all this in consideration when sentencing the adult(almost juvenile). Haley could have said NO.

-- Posted by Taxpayer5253 on Thu, Jan 7, 2010, at 7:29 AM

I do know all of the kids. All of us have good and bad qualities and the ability to make our own choices. Each one of these individuals has/had so much life to look forward to. I believe that it is true that younger ones may feel invincible and often take chances without thinking through all of the consequences. There is always plenty of blame to go around. I wish that everyone with an opinion could have known these kids, and also seen their senses of humor, vitality and other all too normal teen age sides. Haley can not die in vain or without purpose. She was awesome. I hope she somehow saves many others who have to deal with losing her and maybe stop them from a similar fate. We all make mistakes we wish we could re-do. Our prayers are with them all.

-- Posted by overcare on Thu, Jan 7, 2010, at 3:16 PM

I feel like my opinions are on both sides of the fence here on this one. First of all I have to say that my prayers and thoughts go out to each persons involved family. Here is where I am on both sides though. How is just one guy getting all the blame for it when it was all of them as a group. Is it just the unfortunate law that he had just turned 18? I'm sorry but if they are going to sit down as a whole and do drugs then there minds are on the same level as the person next to them. I understand that the case is harsh and waiting to call 911 or to take her to the hospital is what put this overboard then shouldn't all the kids be held responsible for it? However there was a life that was lost in this matter and I don't care how old you are its common sense that if a person becomes unresposive then medical attention is required. I could go on and on about both sides of my opinions but really the only other point that I would like to make is the fact that I don't comment much on the news simply cause I don't like others comments. So I guess I am saying this. I don't know anyone involved or there family but talking about them and downgrading them like you know them only makes you smaller than what you think you are.

-- Posted by Reader11 on Mon, Jan 11, 2010, at 12:02 PM

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