|Updated: 12/21/2012 10:01 am
||Published: 12/20/2012 9:12 pm
Prosecutors in Pottawatomie County dropped a kidnapping charge against Robby Almon, the man responsible for a statewide Amber Alert this summer, because they say Almon had joint custody of his daughter Chasity.
The parents of the other child who Almon took and later released didn't want to press charges, so Assistant District Attorney Bob Booth says Almon will serve a ten year suspended sentence for eluding police and an unrelated assault charge.
Debbie Phillips expected something different.
“I went down there today fully intending on seeing him go to prison,” Phillips, Chasity’s grandmother, told FOX23 Thursday.
In July, when the entire state was trying to track down Almon and her granddaughter, she was on edge at her home in Mannford.
“There's really no words I can find that would describe what I am doing through right now,” she said at the time.
Five and a half months later she's feeling the same but for much different reasons.
“We pretty much watched him walk out today. It was pretty much a slap on the wrist,” Phillips said.
She says more than just being bewildered by the suspended sentence, it sends the wrong message.
“(It says) that our judicial system isn't tough enough. That was a statewide Amber Alert, all of the law enforcement, the news media. How much money was put into that, and is he going to have to pay for it? Probably not.”
Booth says the sentence is appropriate, because Almon will be on a short leash and must attend Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings as well as attend counseling sessions. That's not good enough for Phillips.
“We now have a restraining order against him for my daughter, my granddaughter, and my grandson and if he violates that he has no choice; he'll go to prison.”
Phillips hopes it never comes to that.
“It would just be best if he stayed away, forget that they exist.”
Prosecutors called this community sentencing. If Robby Almon breaks any part of his probation he'll immediately go to prison. Prosecutors say the punishment is much harsher in stranger abductions when custody issues aren't involved.
Almon pleaded guilty to an Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon charge in 2004. State prison records show he was in prison for two years.