Son’s plea deal could help his parents
February 24, 2004
A 21-year-old man has agreed to a plea bargain that could help his parents avoid prosecution in a controversial undercover drug case.
Hayden Laybourn has agreed to plead guilty to possession of a controlled substance, diazepam, with the intent to distribute, according to documents filed in Eagle County Court. Diazepam is also known as Valium.
In return for the guilty plea to that felony charge, prosecutors will drop five original charges ” possession and intent to distribute marijuana, possession and intent to distribute cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to a disposition prepared by the Eagle County district attorney’s office.
Laybourn is scheduled to be sentenced next month. His parents, Royal and Leslie Laybourn, were scheduled to resolve their own drug cases in Eagle County Court yesterday, but their attorney filed a motion to reschedule the cases until after their son’s sentencing.
The elder Laybourns were snared under unusual circumstances at the same time the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team, also called TRIDENT, arrested their son last August.
TRIDENT officials used a confidential informant to arrange an alleged drug purchase from Hayden Laybourn. That undercover deal was used as the basis to secure a search warrant for Hayden’s apartment, which is attached to his parents’ home and serves as its own unit. The Laybourns live in Missouri Heights.
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After allegedly finding 2.6 grams of pot and less than a half ounce of cocaine in Hayden’s living quarters, the TRIDENT officers expanded their search into the main part of the house. They allegedly found a small amount of marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms in the parents’ bedroom.
None of the Laybourns were at home at the time. All three were arrested the following day on drug charges.
The case drew wide attention because the controversial search was expanded to the parents’ bedroom even though nothing in the search warrant said they were suspected of possessing drugs.
TRIDENT’s tactics have long been under fire by Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis, and his department won’t participate with the agency. District Attorney Mac Myers partially severed ties with TRIDENT this winter in a move that observers said spoke volumes about a philosophical split.
TRIDENT is comprised of law enforcement agencies in Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and the Interstate 70 corridor.
In a court hearing for Royal Laybourn earlier this winter, former Eagle County Deputy District Attorney David Moffat said the disposition of Hayden Laybourn’s case would affect the outcome of his parents’ case.
Moffat, who has parted ways with the district attorney’s office, wasn’t specific about whether charges would be reduced or dropped against the parents pending the guilty plea by their child.
Royal Laybourn declined to comment on the issue yesterday.
The plea bargain agreement with Hayden Laybourn says it is mandatory that he will receive two years of parole, a $1,125 surcharge, 48 hours of useful public service and loss of his drivers’ license for three months.
Additionally, it is possible that Hayden could receive a fine of between $1,000 and $100,000 and a prison sentence of one to four years. Extraordinary circumstances could shorten the prison time to eight months or lengthen it to eight years, according to court documents.
[Scott Condon’s e-mail address is email@example.com]