Hammons changes plea on placing child in freezer

By Joe P. Asher jasher@civitasmedia.com

February 10, 2014

A man charged with placing a 3-year-old child in a freezer and holding him there has entered a plea of guilty in Harlan Circuit Court.

Randy Hammons, 25, of Cumberland, appeared in front of Judge Henry Johnson on Thursday to enter a change of plea. Hammons was awaiting trail.

Hammons was arrested March 26 by former Harlan County Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Cope for placing a child in a freezer.

“As the investigation progressed, it was discovered that Hammons had placed the 3-year-old child in a functioning deep freezer holding the door closed,” said Cope shortly after the alleged incident. “This action created circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life and grave risk of death.”

Initially, Hammons was charged with first-degree criminal abuse. A warrant obtained by Cope added an attempted murder charge and later amended to first-degree assault by a grand jury.

A previous report stated the woman Hammons was living with, Connie Jenkins, 56, of Cumberland, was also charged in the incident.

Jenkins entered a guilty plea on an amended charge of second-degree criminal abuse, with the charges of first-degree complicity to criminal abuse and first-degree complicity to assault being dismissed.

The state recommended a sentence of five years in prison with the condition that Jenkins testify against Hammons.

Hammons entered a guilty plea on charges of first-degree assault, two counts of first-degree criminal abuse and an amended charge of second-degree unlawful imprisonment.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has recommended 10 years in prison on the first-degree assault charge, five years in prison on both counts of first-degree criminal abuse and 12 months in jail on the second-degree unlawful imprisonment charge.

Johnson accepted the guilty plea. He scheduled final sentencing for March 6.

Joe P. Asher may be reached at 606-573-4510, ext. 113 or on Twitter @joe_hde.