Jerry Rhea, the former owner of Quality Paving and Quality Resurfacing, will remain free for at least another month for medical reasons, pending a …
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Jerry Rhea, the former owner of Quality Paving and Quality Resurfacing, will remain free for at least another month for medical reasons, pending a judge’s decision concerning his appeal bond.
On May 31, Rhea’s attorneys asked Judge Steven Shinn to extend Rhea’s terms of release, pending the results of an appeal filed with the state Court of Appeals. Rhea’s appeal to remain out of jail on bond centers on a claim that a shoulder injury is affecting his mental state.
Shinn said mitigating factors allow convicted individuals to be eligible for an appeal bond, including mental condition.” But Shinn said he was unable to reach a judgment on the request because the prosecution needs to do more research on whether Rhea’s injury does affect his mental state.
“Pain is mental, and as anyone who had this rotator-cuff problem knows, it is excruciating pain,” Rhea’s defense attorney Tony Leffert said. “The problem is that it makes it impossible for him to sleep. So, I submit it absolutely affects his mental condition in such a way that it comes within the statutory criteria.”
Phil Parrott, Rhea’s second defense attorney, said the cost for Rhea’s surgeries ranges from $30,000 to $50,000, a liability the state would have to bear, if Rhea was brought into custody.
When Rhea was sentenced on May 7, Shinn ruled he could turn himself on May 25 because he was awaiting tests for his injury, but his attorneys said more time was needed to properly diagnose and possibly treat his shoulder condition before he is turned over to the Department of Corrections.
“Whether it’s due to age or physical impairment, all of us find ourselves in circumstances that we can’t sleep or have certain pain,” prosecuting attorney Jess Redman said. “I don’t think that we can elevate Mr. Rhea’s status based upon his and his counsel’s assertions to avoid the imposition of a sentence.”
If the appeal bond is granted, Redman said, Rhea’s case could set a precedent.
“I think this further stay of execution or further delay in the imposition of a sentence is contrary to the purposes of sentencing,” Redman said. “At this stage, I think to belabor the medical condition of Mr. Rhea … depreciates the nature of the jury’s verdict and the significance of treating similar offenses and offenders in the same way.”
Rhea’s next court appearance is scheduled for 8 a.m. July 16.
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