FARMINGTON – A man convicted of causing the death of a passenger when the car he was driving crashed was back in court today, having previously admitted to violating his parole for the third time.
Timothy Witham, 22, was convicted in 2005 of driving his car at dangerous speeds in Wilton. The car eventually crashed, killing his passenger and badly injuring Witham himself. He was eventually tried and convicted of manslaughter, a Class A crime. Witham was sentenced to one year in jail out of a partially-suspended five year sentence, along with six years of probation.
Since then, Witham has been convicted three times of violating his probation. In November 2006, he stopped attending counseling, a condition of his probation, and had a charge of terrorizing filed against him. He ended up serving 90 additional days of his suspended jail sentence for the manslaughter conviction.
In August 2007, a criminal threatening charge was filed, along with evidence of alcohol use. Witham served another 6 months in jail.
Then, on September 11, Witham admitted to using marijuana, after he failed a random urine test which found traces of the chemical PHP in his system.
Assistant District Attorney James Andrews said that this latest violation was part of a trend.
“This is the third time that Mr. Witham has failed to abide by the rules governing his probation,” he said. “This is a probation that has not gone particularity well.” Andrews went on to ask for at least enough jail time to equal previous violations.
Witham’s attorney, Joshua Robbins, said that a long sentence would not be consistent with the relatively minor nature of the infraction or conducive to reintegrating Witham into society.
“This violation is different in nature to the others,” he noted. “I fail to see how progressive sentences for incidents such as these helps.”
Justice Michaela Murphy also heard a report from a probation officer about Witham’s lack of progress at counseling. Andrews said that this latest argument by Witham was not new.
“The defense mantra since his original arrest has been ‘what’s good for Mr. Witham? How can we change things to help Mr. Witham?'” he said. “It’s frankly disturbing.”
Witham himself said that he was remorseful for what had happened to the victim in the case.
“I live with it everyday and everywhere,” he said.
Murphy noted that the fact that it was a third violation was sufficient reason for a lengthy jail sentence. Witham will serve another six months of his 2005 sentence.