MORGANTOWN — “As far as I’m concerned, you got a slap on the wrist,” Jim Simons said while looking at Benjamin Bradley during Bradley’s Monday parole hearing where the request was denied.
Bradley was sentenced to serve two to 20 years on home confinement in September 2017, after pleading guilty to burglary and conspiracy. The March 2016 home invasion resulted in the death of Jesse Loya after Jeremiah Martin shot him in the back of the head. Martin is serving 15 years to life.
Monongalia County Circuit Court Judge Russell Clawges presided over the parole hearing. He explained that the Circuit Court serves in lieu of the parole board for those serving sentences on home confinement.
Simons is engaged to Loya’s mother and knew him for 18 years. He said common decency should have stopped Bradley from asking for parole after serving just more than two years of his sentence. Being able to live with his family and go to work are things Bradley gets to do that Loya never can, he said.
Belinda Haney, Bradley’s attorney, said that he demonstrated he is not a danger to the community over the past two years and held a full-time job as a landscaper since starting home confinement in May 2016.
Haney said Bradley lives with his girlfriend, their two children and Bradley’s parents and kept up his home confinement payments. She said he has been having trouble paying restitution, but if released the money used to pay for home confinement would be used for restitution.
Simons said he didn’t care about the restitution, which only benefited the state getting its money back for burying Loya.
Sue Keener, Loya’s grandmother, also spoke before the court Monday.
“Jesse was the light of our lives and they took that away,” she said.
Keener said she believed that both Bradley and Martin should be in prison for the rest of their lives and should have to pay for what they did. She said Loya’s death was meaningless and he was just minding his own business watching TV when two people broke in with guns and murdered him in his kitchen.
The family home is no longer a peaceful place and Keener described how the doors and windows are locked and covered at all times since his death.
Stephen Fitz, of the Mon County prosecutor’s office, said the state opposed parole and offered a procedural issue in which the state believed the terms of the plea agreement required Bradley to discharge his entire sentence on home confinement, which Haney called absurd. Clawges ruled that under the terms of the agreement, Bradley was in fact eligible for parole and language in the agreement indicated him being granted parole at some point was contemplated.