The man said he won't bother Judge Krichbaum and his wife anymore.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A man who admitted threatening to kill Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge R. Scott Krichbaum and his wife has been sentenced to four years in state prison, but he could be released on probation after six months.
Kenneth Favors, 52, of West Delason Avenue, received that sentence Tuesday from visiting Judge Thomas P. Curran moments after he pleaded guilty to one count each of intimidation and retaliation.
In exchange for his guilty pleas to those third-degree felony charges, two counts of telecommunications harassment were dropped in the plea agreement, and Favors waived his right to appeal the sentence.
If Favors behaves well in prison, Judge Curran said, he could be released after six months and put on probation for five years.
Favors was charged with making two collect telephone calls to Judge Krichbaum's home from Mahoning County Jail in April 2005, during which he made the threats. The judge's wife, Sharon, answered the phone both times.
Judge Krichbaum and his wife sat in the spectators' section of the courtroom during the plea and sentencing, but they declined to make any statements in court, except for Judge Krichbaum's saying he and his wife were satisfied with the plea agreement.
"I apologize to the Krichbaum family, and they don't have to worry about me bothering them no more," Favors told Judge Curran.
"What you did was a cowardly act for which you are being punished," Judge Curran replied, ordering Favors to have no contact with any judicial officers or their immediate families if he is released from prison.
Initially, Favors pleaded guilty as charged Jan. 26, but during a presentence investigation, Favors told an Adult Parole Authority representative he was innocent, causing Judge Curran to set the case for trial. Favors pleaded guilty under the agreement with the prosecution just as he was to go on trial Tuesday.
Favors has a long criminal record, including 30 convictions dating to 1972 for crimes committed in Youngstown, Warren and Texas, including breaking and entering, burglary, felonious assault and domestic violence.
Before the January plea, Favors' public defender, William J. Mooney of Columbus, filed a motion to stop Sharon Krichbaum from testifying and requested an evidentiary hearing, saying the prosecution destroyed audio tapes of the calls Favors made from the jail.
Timothy E. Franken, chief of the criminal division of the prosecutor's office, said the tapes were accidentally erased while they were being transferred to compact disc. Some prior case law says that, if the state destroys evidence, other evidence can't be introduced to replace it, Franken said after court.
The prosecution opted for the plea agreement because its case would have been gutted without the tapes and without Sharon Krichbaum's testimony, Franken explained. Some of the jail camera videos of Favors at the telephone were also unsatisfactory, Franken added. "It was a reasonable outcome based on the evidence," Franken concluded.
Favors made the calls while he was jailed on a breaking and entering charge. He was never indicted on the charge in that case because the witnesses, who were renting the home Favors was accused of breaking into, couldn't be located to testify before a grand jury.