BROOKSVILLE - One month after a jury found Johnathan Lee Hicks guilty of three felony counts, Judge Anthony Tatti sentenced him to 30 years in prison.
Before being sentenced, Assistant State Attorney Sonny McCathran presented about 16 pieces of evidence detailing Hicks' prior convictions in Hernando County, as well as Sumter and Hillsborough counties. In order to show Hicks was a habitual offender, McCathran called a latent print examiner from the sheriff's office to testify Hicks' prints match past booking fingerprints.
Last month, six jurors heard one day of testimony before finding Hicks guilty of fleeing or attempting to flee law enforcement, driving with a suspended or revoked license (habitual offender) and escaping or attempting to escape law enforcement.
Hicks, 28, was charged with the first two offenses after failing to stop for a Brooksville police officer on Aug. 28, 2012, and speeding through south Brooksville. The escape charge came about a month later at the Hernando courthouse, when Hicks learned he was going to be taken into custody on a failure to appear charge, and sprinted out of the building.
Hicks was arrested at his home on Oct. 2, 2012, and has remained in the Hernando County Jail since.
Hicks's lawyer, Ed Mills, did not question the defendant or anyone else before sentencing. Tatti offered little comment, but did say a hand-written note by Hicks would be sealed and included in the court file.
Tatti sentenced Hicks to 30 years on the fleeing charge, with 15 years and 5 years to be served concurrently on the lesser charges. Hicks already has 289 days time served on the escape charge, and 314 days time served on the fleeing and driver's license charges.
A handful of people attended court in support of Hicks. They declined to comment to Hernando Today.
Hernando Today previously reported Hicks was facing up to 70 years for the three charges.
Hicks has served three prison sentences in the past on charges of grand theft of a motor vehicle, fleeing to elude law enforcement and driving with a suspended license.