(Lander, WY) – The sentencing hearing for Korbin Headley, one of four parties involved in the January 4th, 2019 murders of Jocelyn Watt and Rudy Perez, was held Thursday, December 15, and overseen by the Honorable Judge Jason Conder.
Headley, who was reportedly “passed out drunk” in the vehicle used to drive to and from the residence where the murders occurred, was initially charged with one count of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary and one count of accessory after the fact, both felonies.
Headley was ultimately sentenced to serve out the three year prison sentence under supervised probation (with 272 days credit already served), with further prison time suspended unless violation of said probation.
The Court agreed to the conditions of his “no contest” plea (the exact stipulations of which could not be obtained due to a court-ordered seal), resulting in Count 1 being dropped.
At the beginning of the hearing, Jocelyn’s mother, Nicole Wagon, and her two sisters Tianna and Jewel, were given the chance to speak.
“The wounds never heal. Every time we come to Court, it opens up the trauma again for my family,” Nicole commented before adding that she wanted to “thank the justice system for pursuing the case.”
“What hurts is, nobody spoke up, for how many years nobody spoke up,” Nicole stated before discussing the surprise she felt when the young age of the suspects involved was discovered.
Nicole then described the toll the aftereffects of the murder have taken on the family, and stated they are “elephants in the room” wherever they go. “Everybody knows who I am.”
“Telling my daughter’s story, she had a name. Her name was Jocelyn Watt, a beautiful baby, born in Germany. So much potential. My first born, to be taken out by juveniles. They didn’t have to kill her.”
Jocelyn’s sister Tianna was next to take the stand, and echoed her mother’s comments about the surprise at finding out the age of the parties involved after two years of not having any information.
“To see Korbin Headley walk through the door, I was shocked. To know that four young boys were responsible for taking my sister away from me and my family, to not be able to see her again, and having to continue life without her is not fair.”
Tianna commended the court system for their efforts, but went on to add how difficult it is to see Headley be able to walk in public.
“And though this is not the outcome I would have liked, it is the outcome of how the justice system works. To know he was around my family, and to have that information for so long and to not want to speak up about it, you knew, and that tells me you were okay with it.”
“Whether or not he pulled the trigger, whether or not he drove the vehicle, whether or not he was under the influence, his family history, there’s just no excuse.”
“Since that day, nothing has been the same,” Tianna later stated. “Unfortunately these were the cards we were dealt, and I’m thankful to know that rightfully so justice will be served in its own way.”
Jocelyn’s youngest sister Jewel spoke next, commenting, “No matter who, what, when, where or why for all who are involved, there can be no understanding of what you did to my life that night.”
“The pain and suffering I have to live with, I have to live with that the rest of my life,” Jewel went on to say. “I struggle more because they are close in age with me as well.”
Prosecuting Attorney Patrick LeBrun then gave his arguments on behalf of the state, commenting that he wished Headley would have come forward right when the incident occurred, and not let it get to this stage.
“As the Wagons point out, better than any lawyer ever could, he knew who was responsible for these murders,” LeBrun commented, adding that even though there was nothing Headley could have done to prevent the murders while “passed out drunk in the back of the vehicle,” he could have “helped bring justice much sooner than he did.”
LeBrun then asked the Court for the following: required completion of any recommended treatment, that Headley have no association with the other three parties charged, that he comply with all issued subpoenas and testify truthfully, and that he serve the maximum 2-3 year sentence (minus credit for the 272 days served).
Before the Court’s final deliberation, the defense, led by Jeff Stanbury, was given the chance to speak on Headley’s behalf.
“Your Honor, I haven’t had too many cases that are as difficult as this one over the course of my career,” Stanbury said of the “nightmare scenario.”
Stanbury then went on to describe a rough upbringing for Headley, who was 15 at the time of the murders, and how that upbringing, absent parents, and alcohol abuse at a young age contributed to the lead-up to his involvement.
Stanbury also added that Headley has since partaken in some local treatment programs, and has agreed to provide assistance to the State.
“Unfortunately for the Wagon family, for the Perez family, he can’t take any of that back, but what he can do, is the best that he can to assist them in achieving justice and closure.”
Headley was then given the chance to speak in allocution of his sentence, but chose not to.
Before accepting the plea agreement, Judge Conder stated, “I don’t think anyone in this courtroom wants to accept this plea agreement, I do not take joy in it. I do not like it. It does not fix what these families need, but it does provide an avenue to make things right going forward.”
“If you slip up just a little, I will not tolerate one excuse. I don’t care, you are out of excuses,” Judge Conder added, further promising to “throw the book” at Headley if his probation is violated.
The statuses of the three other parties involved are currently in various stages; County 10 will provide updates on those cases when they become available.