It was almost a comical scene in a Cuyahoga County courtroom today when Tony Farmer, one of the most highly recruited basketball players graduating in 2013 collapsed on the ground after the judge read his sentence. Judge Pamela Barker handed out the sentence for the charges that had brought the star player to court – the assault and kidnapping of his girlfriend, Andrea Lane, in April.
The judge told the courtroom that the defendant would serve three years, which was the minimum for the charge she was reading. At that point, Farmer looked at his attorney, shocked, and whispered “I got three years,” to his attorney, who nodded.
The judge went on to read the sentence for count two, the felonious assault, a second degree felony, and Farmer turned back to listen. Upon hearing her say that he would serve two years, he turned to his attorney once again and said incredulously, “I got…I got five years?”
As she read the sentence for the third count, the robbery, his mouth was open as he looked at the judge and then around the courtroom. Upon hearing her include an additional two years, the 6-foot-7, 220 pound man fell to the ground at the feet of deputies stationed behind him. Someone was heard sobbing as Farmer collapsed, but it isn’t clear if it was a friend or family member, or Farmer himself.
The judge told Farmer “I haven’t finished yet,” while a deputy tried to lift the lanky basketball player to his feet. His lawyer, Joe Dubyak, tried to console him saying “it’s not as bad as you think it is.” When Farmer was finally on his feet again, the Judge told him that the sentences would run concurrently as opposed to consecutively, so that he would actually only serve three years in prison, rather than the seven that had made him collapse.
Farmer, who was a senior at Garfield Heights, assaulted his ex-girlfriend earlier this year, dragging her by her hair outside of an apartment building, and removing her computer, phone, debit card and car keys. After kidnapping, assault and robbery charges, not to mention other charges for intimidation for threatening text messages Farmer sent, you’d think he would have collapsed from relief, instead of shock and horror. The sentence could have been much longer.
Tony Farmer was being recruited by some big name schools and considered one of the top 100 recruits in the country this year. As to whether schools will still be recruiting him upon his release, it is unclear, but one thing is certain, he has plenty of time to practice.