HOLBROOK — A judge sentenced Matthew Jacoby 36, of Show Low, to 20 years in prison last Thursday.

Last month, Jacoby pled guilty to attempted transportation of drugs for sale, participating in a criminal syndicate and involving a minor in a drug offense. As previously reported, he is one of seven defendants involved in what the prosecution calls a criminal syndicate involving the use, sale and distribution of methamphetamine. Those activities culminated in the fatal shooting of Show Low Police Officer Darrin Reed on November 8, 2016 at the Day’s Inn in Show Low.

All seven defendants were charged with Reed’s murder under Arizona’s controversial felony murder law, which says that if a person dies during the commission of certain felony crimes, the participants in those crimes can be charged with murder.

As previously reported, five of the defendants took plea deals and the murder charges were dismissed. Jason Hill was sentenced first. A judge sentenced him to 35 years in prison for second-degree murder.

The plea agreement for Maria Lies is not yet available so the status of the murder charge against her is unknown.

Jacoby's hearing started with the attorneys alerting Judge Dale Nielson to a mistake in the plea agreement.

It incorrectly read that Jacoby had entered into a “testimonial agreement” with the prosecutor’s office and that he would testify against the other defendants. Jacoby had not, and that language “should not have been there,” and they “all overlooked” the mistake, said prosecutor Lee White. Nielson ordered that language removed.

Law enforcement from various agencies showed up for Jacoby's  sentencing and some read statements describing the horror and life-changing loss of losing a friend and comrade in the line of duty.

Reed’s widow Cathy Reed and son Chance Reed read their own statements. Reed’s daughter Cheryl could not attend, but her statement was read as well. Chance scoffed at the oft-repeated suggestion that drug abuse is a “victimless crime.” He told the judge that had he known he would never see his dad again, he would have hugged him “a little longer” the last time they said goodbye.

Defense counsel Criss Candelaria took aim at the felony murder law, and echoed what Jacoby's parents had said—that Jacoby was far removed from Reed’s killing; that Jacoby was at his parents’ home repairing a dishwasher for a neighbor on the day Reed was killed.

Candelaria had worked with Reed when Candelaria served as a prosecutor. He said he felt the loss too. The attorney asked the judge to view his client as a user – an addict. He said that Jacoby was no co-conspirator or accomplice to murder.

Prosecutor White noted that under the felony murder law, someone can be held liable for a murder if that person wasn’t even in the state of Arizona when the murder happened. She refuted the view that Jacoby was distant from the participants and deserved leniency. She asked for 25.5 years.

Nielson noted that Jacoby has two prior felony convictions.

He settled on the maximum of 13 years on one count and seven years on the other two. One of the seven year sentences will run concurrently while the other will run after the 13 year sentence for a total of 20 years in prison. The judge also imposed a fine of about $1,800. Jacoby will receive credit for 737 days for time already served—he will be around 54 years old when he is released.

Reach the reporter at rlynch@wmicentral.com

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