Tahlequah Daily Press

April 5, 2013

Felon gets ‘last chance’ to fly right

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — A convicted felon who had the chance to receive a suspended prison sentence, but failed out of a mandated program for youthful offenders, was given his “last chance” Thursday afternoon in district court.

Cody Wayne Fox, 20, was charged in 2010 with endeavoring to manufacture meth and possession of a controlled substance.

Prosecutors said they gave Fox a number of “chances,” and on Oct. 4, 2012, Fox was ordered to participate in the delayed sentencing program. He was set for formal sentencing June 6, 2013, as part of the agreement.

In a letter sent by Fox to Shepherd the month before Fox was sent to the program, the felon pleaded for the judge to give him “one more chance,” and acknowledged he was a “recovering addict” who suffered relapses.

“Please work something out with me where I can go home to my wife and kids as soon as possible and also prove to you that I don’t need to go to prison,” Fox wrote.

Fox said he wanted to show he was “not a bad person” but had gone through “a bad phase growing up.”

“I’m still not grown, but I have learned from my mistakes and have overcome my addiction,” Fox wrote.

Fox was taken to the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center on Dec. 21, 2012, and was transferred to the Bill Johnson Correctional Center in Alva on Jan. 10.

But Fox was placed in the center’s segregated housing unit on Jan. 22 when he refused to participate in the program. As of Feb. 4, he was still refusing the program and was still in isolation at the facility, according to a letter mailed to District Judge Darrell Shepherd by the community corrections division of the state’s department of corrections.

State officials asked Shepherd to move up Fox’s court date from June and to sentence him to prison  for failing the program.

“It was reported [Fox] has been given several chances to comply with the rules and the program, but shows no motivation to take advantage of the chances,” the state letter indicates.

Fox appeared with attorney Angela Jones in front of Shepherd Thursday. Jones said a treatment facility in Oklahoma City, called My Brother’s Keeper, has agreed to admit Fox if Shepherd would allow.

Assistant District Attorney B.J. Baker reminded the judge that Fox had been given “several chances,” and said he would neither oppose nor push for Fox to be given another.

“The district attorney is at the end of his rope with you, and so am I,” Shepherd told Fox. “This will be your absolute last chance.”

Shepherd told Fox if he fails the program, there will be no opportunity to return to Cherokee County and “whine or complain” in court.

“This is your absolute last chance,” said Shepherd. “If you don’t make this work, you go to prison.”

Shepherd authorized Fox’s release from jail and told him to go straight to the Oklahoma City facility and be checked in.

Jones also stressed to Fox that he would have no more chances in court, and asked if he understood. Fox said he did.

“You don’t get to come back here and ask for any more chances,” Jones told Fox.