WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | News

Family Outraged At Request For Shock Probation

By: Michel Mason Email
By: Michel Mason Email

She took a plea deal, agreeing to spend 15 years behind bars for trying to rob and kill her late boyfriend's grandmother in Letcher County. Now Kyla Bellis wants out of prison early.

The family of Gerri Haynes tells me they thought it was time to move on with their lives after Bellis was sentenced in January 2007, but they say the last two months have been a nightmare.

In December 2004, Janie Johnson's mother, Gerri Haynes, was nearly beaten to death by her own grandson - Johnson's son. The grandmother shot and killed Simon Haynes in self-defense. Now the woman who pleaded guilty to her role in the plot wants to be free again.

"He made choices to plan to kill his grandmother. He did these things. I think it's hard for me to continue to punish him because he's paid with his life," said Janie Johnson.

Bellis and her attorney, Jimmy Craft II, signed a plea agreement in January 2007 that states she would spend 15 years in prison for criminal facilitation to attempted murder, robbery and burglary. They also agreed not to seek shock probation which is something a convict must request within 180 days of receiving his or her sentence.

"It's something the judge should have looked at and said she agreed not to do this, she's outside her time frame, I'm not addressing this."

"The taxpayers of Kentucky are paying for this and it's an issue that's cut and dry," added Johnson.

Johnson says her mother went to court alone August 27th because she was told Bellis wouldn't be there for the first hearing.

"There sits my 70-year-old mother face to face with someone who tried to kill her with no notification, no warning, no nothing," claimed Johnson.

Johnson claims her family did not even know about proceedings held on September 9th, until after the fact. She says they've asked the court and the commonwealth's attorney's office for answers.

Bellis has already been denied parole once and isn't eligible for it again until 2012.

Jimmy Craft II declined to comment Monday night when asked why he filed the motion for shock probation on behalf of Kyla Bellis. The Commonwealth's Attorney Edison Banks says he can't talk about a pending case but is willing to comment once a ruling is made. Circuit Judge Sam Wright says he expects that to happen this week.


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