Several individuals convicted in Johnson County are becoming eligible for parole in the coming months, including some convicted only months ago.
Among them is Toby Akers, currently lodged in the Pike County Jail, who was convicted July 20 of this year in relation to a 2017 indictment for methamphetamine trafficking.
Akers is also involved in other cases, including a Floyd County case with charges originally including second-degree escape, tampering with a prisoner monitoring device, second-degree criminal mischief, theft by unlawful taking under $10,000, first-degree assault and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, as well as a separate Johnson County case including charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest.
Johnson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Skeans said Akers’ case, like many other parole turnarounds, may be in part due to House Bill 463, passed in the 2011 General Assembly, which, in part, included parole reforms.
“It boils down to costs,” Skeans said. “They enacted across-the-board criminal justice reforms in order to reduce the cost of people in jail, and that included decreasing the penalty ranges and the parole eligibility ranges.”
Skeans said the law also includes “mandatory reentry supervision,” a system for introducing inmates back into society that sounds good on paper but, in practice, often means criminals being released early and still without adequate resources to reintegrate successfully.
“A big frustration you’re seeing now on our dockets is the multiplicity of drug crimes an individual commits while on release,” Skeans said. “The cost is coming back to our county and having criminals back in the community.”
Those coming eligible for parole hearings in November, December and January include, in addition to Akers:
Jackie Allen, convicted in October for first-degree promoting contraband.
Tatarekoda Baxter, convicted in October for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and first-degree wanton endangerment.
Justin Best, convicted in November 2006 for criminal attempt to manufacture methamphetamine, in June 2008 for receiving stolen property and in February 2012 for manufacturing methamphetamine.
Tammy Evans, convicted in July 2014 for possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.
Justin Fields, convicted in June 2014 for manufacturing methamphetamine, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and first-degree bail jumping.
Shawn Gayheart, convicted in September for first-degree criminal mischief and theft by unlawful taking under $10,000.
Tabitha Hunter, convicted in October for first-degree possession of a controlled substance.
Jonathan Mayhan, convicted in September for first-degree wanton endangerment and other charges.
Suzanna Moore, convicted in October for tampering with a prisoner monitoring device.
Brian Edward Olson, convicted in August for second-degree escape.
Kayla Renea Prater, convicted in July for first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.
Candi Lynn Price, convicted in November 2017 for first-degree possession of a controlled substance.
Thomas W. Price, convicted in October 2017 for second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, first-degree fleeing or evading police, first-degree wanton endangerment and second-degree escape.
Joshua Stephens, convicted in August 2017 for criminal facilitation to manufacturing methamphetamine and in January 2018 for assault under extreme emotional disturbance.