Local woman sentenced

Lazaro Aleman
ECB Publishing, Inc.

The court on earlier this week sentenced a local woman to just shy of year in jail for two felony charges stemming from an incident on April 22 of last year.
Circuit Judge Dawn Caloca-Johnson on Monday morning, June 26, adjudicated Laura Cook Little guilty of resisting an officer with violence and battery on a law-enforcement officer and sentenced the 41-year-old mother of three to 11 months, 29 days in the county jail.
Little has two other charges pending that the state will decide whether to pursue further. These two charges are burglary of a conveyance with person assaulted and battery.
The sole purpose of Monday’s hearing was for the judge to pronounce sentence, as a jury on May 24 had found Little guilty of resisting with violence and battery on a law-enforcement officer.
Attorney Baya Harrison, who represented Little at Monday’s hearing, told the court that his client had some bad points but said she also had good points, naming among the latter that she was a good mother who was financially responsible for her three children and very protective of their welfare.
Harrison had Little’s father’s testify to the latter points in order that the court might “get a better understanding of the family dynamics”, in the attorney’s words.
It was these dynamics that had created the “crazy situation” on April 22, Harrison said.
“But I sincerely feel that she is remorseful,” he said.
Little told the judge that she had overreacted on the day of the incident. But, she added, she had lived 41 years in this county, worked for a living, didn’t have a record and was the mother of three children. Which factors should be taken into consideration in the court’s decision was the implication.
Assistant State Attorney Andrew Deneen, however, disagreed that Little was truly sorry for her behavior.
“No time has she taken responsibility for her action,” Deneen said. “Even now, she says she overreacted, but there is no apology.”
Nor was the incident on April 22 an isolated one, he said.
Deneen had two deputies testify that the Sheriff’s Department had on various occasions had to respond to the Little household in the past and that the behavior exhibited on April 22 “was not outside the realm of normal behavior” for Little.
“Since she was charged with this crime, we haven’t had calls out there,” Sgt. Logan Wilcox testified.
Another deputy said that Little had once threatened to sic a bulldog on him and that she had further expressed the wish that he would meet the same fate that had befallen a deputy who had been shot in Leon County.
Deneen asked the judge to impose on Little a sentence of a year and a day in the Department of Corrections.
Harrison conceded that there seemed to exist among certain of Little’s family members an attitude of hostility and disrespect toward law enforcement. But he reiterated his belief that she was remorseful.
“Laura and I have had heart to heart talk and I believe that she’s sincere in her remorse and her apology to the officers,” Harrison said.
The judge in her decision took note that a jury had found Little guilty of two third-degree felonies, each of which could receive up to five years in prison. That said, Judge Caloca-Johnson sentenced Little to one day shy of a year in the county jail.
According to the April 22 arrest report, the incident involved Little striking a deputy in the face and kicking him after he grabbed her arm to restrain her from going inside her house during a routine search being conducted by probation officer as part of the probation process.