41-year-old Michael Benjamin was sentenced in 4th Judicial District Court Thursday morning on two Counts. For Count 1, Felony Domestic Battery, he received two to four years in prison, suspended, with four years supervised probation.
For Count 2, Misdemeanor Interference on a 911 Call, he received 120 days in jail to run consecutively to the incarceration time on Count 1, suspended; and six months supervised probation, to run concurrently to the Count 1 probation period.
The sentence comes after a plea agreement with the State earlier this year. Originally, Benjamin had plead "not guilty" to the charges, which stem from an incident in November, 2010, when he caused physical bodily injury to Robin Emery in their home. He also prevented her from completing a 911 call. This was the third time in the last five years he'd been charged with this type of crime.
Before sentencing Thursday, State Prosecutor, Sheridan County Deputy County Attorney Darci Arsene and Public Defender Robert Jones discussed with Judge John Fenn the terms of the plea agreement.
Both said that Benjamin acknowledges that his longtime struggle with alcohol abuse has been the primary reason he has been in trouble. His consumption has caused severe anger outbursts and black outs; the plea agreement is structured so that he will undergo intensive inpatient substance abuse treatment and after-care as soon as he can get a bed at WyStar. He will then take part in two support groups -- the Men's Non-Violent Group and after care program, as well as the "Thinking for a Change" class.
Benjamin told Judge Fenn that he was truly sorry for his actions and realized he needs help. He wants to make changes in his life, he told the Court, to be a productive member of society.