Saturday, April 17, 2021

Basham receives deferred sentence

Editor | March 30, 2021 7:00 AM

Benjamin Jay Basham will serve a deferred, three-year sentence for allegedly absconding from Montana with his six-year-old daughter last summer.

Basham, 33, entered an Alford plea to a single count of felony parenting interference as part of a deal with prosecutors. In exchange, they dropped a felony aggravated assault charge.

An Alford plea, treated as a guilty plea for sentencing purposes, allows a defendant to maintain innocence while acknowledging the weight of the evidence against them.

Basham came to the attention of local authorities after the alleged assault of his ex-girlfriend in Troy last July. The victim told Troy police officers that Basham had arrived earlier in the day and asked to take his daughter.

When his ex-girlfriend refused, Basham allegedly struck her, according to an affidavit written by Troy Police officer Travis Miller. Afterwards, Basham allegedly fled with his daughter.

Although Basham evaded a subsequent search launched by Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office deputies, local authorities in Jackson County, Ore, eventually caught him.

Lincoln County District Judge Matthew Cuffe handed down Basham’s sentence during a March 22 hearing. He also agreed to give Basham credit for the 234 days he had served prior to the sentencing.

Basham’s lawyers sought to see him released from the Lincoln County Detention Center on his own recognizance in November. Prosecutors countered by pointing to his flight from Montana after the alleged incident. They argued he was a flight risk.

Cuffe, who oversaw the hearing, sided with the prosecutorial team and kept bond at $100,000.

On March 22, Cuffe said the victim’s endorsement of the sentence proved “one of the most compelling factors.”

“The long and short of it is … I believe this is a just and appropriate sentence,” Cuffe said. “Good luck, Mr. Basham.”

Cuffe also agreed to waive the cost of legal counsel at the request of Basham’s defense attorney.