[UpDated 4/21] Let's "read between the lines" of the always helpful to DA Jim Martin Morning Call "newspaper" account, shall we ...
By Kevin Amerman, Of The Morning Call
... and Bill Villa, Of Lehigh Valley Somebody
Upset by what they thought was too sweet a deal for a killer, the family of a slain Bethlehem man persuaded a judge Friday afternoon to reject a plea agreement just moments before the murderer was to be sentenced.
The decision enraged the defense attorney who arranged the deal last month and resulted in the victim's family hugging and crying in relief in a courthouse hallway.
As we'll see, the "sweet deal" was approved by DA Jim Martin.
Clyde Lont, 26, pleaded guilty last month to third-degree murder (?) and criminal conspiracy, admitting he gunned down 25-year-old David Rivera in a Bethlehem housing development in 2007 while he was high on PCP. Authorities say Lont and his accomplice, Matthew Hendricks, 28, of Easton, agreed to kill Rivera over a drug dispute between Rivera and Lont.
Pre-meditatively "agreeing to kill" someone makes it first degree murder, no?
Lont's deal called for his minimum sentence to be no more than 16 years in prison and his maximum couldn't exceed 40 years. It was worked out between Lont's court-appointed attorney, Gavin Holihan, and Lehigh County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jay Jenkins.
Oh ... so this happened in Lehigh County. It took the "newspaper" until paragraph 4 to reveal that.
Not revealed (again) is that "Lont's sweet deal" was approved by Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin in an election year.
During Lont's sentencing hearing Friday, about 20 friends and family members of Rivera's showed up and some begged Judge James T. Anthony to reject the plea deal, saying a minimum sentence of 16 years wasn't enough for murder.
Rivera's mother, Lilliam Moraza, who shook and wept for much of the hearing, told the judge she'd rather have Lont stand trial on first-degree murder charges and have a shot at being acquitted than only serve 16 years.
Anthony, noting Rivera was shot seven times, sided with the family, saying, "I'm not open to being bound to 16 years."
An infuriated Holihan asked to be dismissed from the case and told Anthony he should recuse himself.
Wow. Some lawyerly tantrum. And in a courtroom no less. Imagine how Irish hot head Gavin Holihan behaves while negotiating plea deals for murderers over a few Irish whiskeys w/ DA Jim Martin at the Limeport Inn.
"I feel my efforts on this case are no longer valued by the court," he told Anthony.
Translation: "Here I am trying to facilitate a murderer getting off easy, and w/ the full cooperation of District Attorney James B. Martin, and you're (respectfully) fucking things up for us, Your Honor." -Gavin P. (hiccup) Hooligan
Anthony, who remained calm, asked Holihan if he and Lont would agree to plead guilty to an open count of third-degree murder with no agreement on time.
"I'm obviously unhappy, so I try not to make decisions when I'm angry," Holihan replied.
I'm unhappy that Judge Jim Anthony didn't march down off the bench and cold-cock this pouting pussy and Jim Martin pally Gavin Holihan but I digress.
Anthony scheduled a status hearing on the case for later this month.
FYI: It's scheduled for Monday, April 25, 1:30pm in Judge Anthony's courtroom and I hope the family of David Rivera knows this, since DA Jim Martin has been known to purposefully not inform interested parties of court proceedings so he can fix the case in private. See:
Rivera's body was found on April 20, 2007 (?) in his ex-girlfriend's 1933 Hillcrest Road home in the Parkridge housing development.
DA Jim ... 4 years? 4 years? To arrange an overly sweet plea deal for a murderer? This is gross negligence and a screaming dereliction of your duties as DA. You should step down right now.
Hendricks was convicted by jury last month of third-degree murder (?) for setting up Rivera, his friend, by making sure he was home the day of the killing and hanging out with him in the apartment before Lont barged in and, police say, shot him dead.
So DA Jim Martin's office "prosecuted" (wink wink) first degree murder co-conspirator Matthew Hendricks but took the easy and lazy trial route to a third degree murder conviction. Jesus.
Before Lont's plea was rejected, he apologized to Rivera's family.
"I'm remorseful," Lont told Anthony. "I admitted to my guilt. I was high on PCP. The violence came with the drug use and the drug dealing."
What's Jim Martin's excuse?