Wednesday, February 27, 2013
An Augusta man is scehduled to be sentenced this week for the murder of his own grandmother, but Jacob Hoyt's family isn't happy about a plea agreement they say they had no knowledge of.
Back in December, 2011, Loyce Cody was suffocated as her grandson sat on top of her. We spoke with Cody's daughter Wednesday, who isn't happy that Butler County Attorney Darrin Devinney made a deal with Hoyt.
"We were ready for a trial. We had a strong case," explained Lori Daly. "He had confessed."
As Daly looks through pictures of her mother, it's extremely hard to talk about. Her nephew was the mastermind behind the unconscionable killing of the woman who cared for him the most.
"They told us that they were going to fight for a strong conviction and the hard-50," Daly said. "But now, according to the plea, he will actually get less than the codefendant."
Lyndsey Giovinazzo was Hoyt's girlfriend at the time. After placing a bag over Cody's head, they sat on her until she took her last breath. Then they stole her debit cards and some candy and went on a shopping spree. Giovinazzo also reached a plea deal and was sentenced last year to 25 years-to-life.
"He already killed the person that cared the most for him," said Daly. "There is nothing stopping him from killing any other family member."
The family believed that Hoyt would face the hard-50 sentence - life without parole elegibility for a minimum of 50 years. However, minutes before the last court hearing, County Attorney Darrin Devinney told them he had reached a plea deal for a reduced murder charge, with a recommended sentence of 20 years to life. The deal essentially guaranteed there would be no trial - and no chance of a sympathetic juror causing a hung jury.
"You're at the mercy, in our case, of the county attorney," Daly said. "We had no say in the outcome of whether there was a plea deal accepted or not."
The judge in the case is not bound by the plea agreement between Hoyt and the county attorney. He could actually sentence the man to a tougher term. However, it rarely happens. Jacob Hoyt will be sentenced on Friday in Butler County District Court.