November 20, 2007
By Tracy Harmon
CANON CITY - A former Royal Gorge Academy director convicted of assault and false imprisonment of two students was sentenced Monday to 25 days in jail and one year on probation. Randall Hinton, 34, was convicted by a jury Aug. 31 of third-degree assault and false imprisonment. Hinton was found not guilty of four other assault charges and not guilty on one other false imprisonment charge. The victims on the convictions, both boys, were attending the private, co-ed school for troubled youth during the past year.
One boy sustained a bloody nose, while the other experienced vomiting while being detained in Hinton's office. "In reading the presentence investigative report I noticed the defendant's lack of any accountability. Discipline is a necessary part of dealing with troubled youth but the defendant had crossed the line and the actions of the defendant were not justified or allowable," argued Deputy District Attorney Thom LeDoux. When asked by the probation officer what he believed the impact was on the victims, Hinton responded, "I believe they finally realize the importance of their choices and realize if they don't change their ways they will have adults making choices for them," LeDoux read from the report.
When asked what he believed the impact of his crime on the community was, Hinton said he believed parts of the community gained from the incident such as, "the newspaper probably sold more copies." Fremont County Court Judge Norm Cooling said he found Hinton's answer puzzling and told the defendant "You kind of gave Canon City a black eye." LeDoux said of Hinton: "He could not have demonstrated he missed the point more so. He said, "I, Randall Hinton, believe I did a great job considering all the circumstances involved." The defendant should be held accountable and sentenced to a period of incarceration."
Defense Attorney Michael Gillick argued that Hinton has only been consistent with his story throughout the incident. He said Hinton is not a candidate for jail because of his stellar record, and the fact that he is sole provider for his family of four small children and wife, Joy. Gillick also said Hinton has made it clear he never wants to work with troubled children again and has a job due to start Friday in Cortez as the manager of an automotive company. Hinton told the judge only that, "It's been very educational," just before he was sentenced. Cooling said, "The black eye is where you really stepped over the line and I believe this calls for a good balance - some jail as a condition of probation is entirely appropriate."
Cooling said he could have sentenced Hinton to between a nine-month to three-year jail sentence, but he opted for 25 days jail and one year probation. Gillick asked for a short stay of the sentence to allow Hinton time to consider whether he will appeal the case. Hinton was ordered to start the jail sentence Jan. 1. LeDoux said he will file a request for restitution including cost of prosecution.
Both attorneys were given 20 days to file the request and a response. ####