‘Shut Up!': Federal Judge Erupts At Meandering Meth Dealer; Harold Creighton Sentenced To Life Imprisonment
Harold "Creature" Creighton, clad in bright yellow and shackled, stood at the podium next to his attorney while the judge laid down the law and life imprisonment for his drug-dealing crime.
U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl calmly explained Congress, not he, crafted sentencing guidelines.
Creighton then began to meander to his right, away from the podium to the chairs at the defense table.
U.S. Marshals approached, and motioned to him to back to the podium
Skavdahl told him to do the same.
Creighton began to object.
Skavdahl wouldn't hear of it. "This is why you are here," he said, voice rising and referring to the defendant's criminal career and apparent disrespect for the court.
Creighton spoke again.
This time, Skavdahl didn't reason with him, pound the gavel, or call for order in the court.
The six-foot, one-inch University of Wyoming 1988 letterman football player -- now federal judge -- rose rapidly from his chair, shot out his black-gowned right arm, pointed his wide-receiver-hand's index finger to Creighton and yelled, "Shut up!" "Shut up!"
Then he called a 10-minute recess.
Defense attorney Hampton Young told Creighton to sit in a chair, bend over, and put his head between his knees
And a Marshal told Creighton's friends and family in the courtroom the hearing was emotional, but outbursts and disruptions would result in expulsion from the courthouse if not arrest.
After the recess, Creighton told Skavdahl he felt sick and that's why he wanted to sit down.
The judge finished reading the sentence, and remanded Creighton into the custody of the Marshals.
On Nov. 2, Creighton was convicted of one count of distributing more than 500 grams of methamphetamine by a jury that deliberated only two hours to arrive at its verdict.
The punishment for that one count carried a penalty of 10 years to life imprisonment.
But Creighton's lengthy criminal history -- three previous drug convictions, conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and other offenses -- warranted the life sentence, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Sprecher told the court.
Creighton's attorney Young objected to the life sentence, saying it was far more than other co-conspirators who pleaded guilty and have been sentenced.
"I think this is a travesty," Young said. "The guidelines are draconian."
Before the outburst, Creighton told the court that he was sorry for his actions, but blamed his drug addiction and the justice system. "All prison does is it ruins people."
But he apparently could threaten to put the ruin on others, too.
On Friday, Skavdahl sentenced co-conspirator Barry Barrera to five years, eight months imprisonment. Barrera pleaded guilty to two counts of methamphetamine distribution in October.
Skavdahl also agreed to inform the Department of Corrections to keep Barrera and Creighton separated in housing and transportation because Creighton has threatened to harm Barrera and his family.
Barrera was among four others sentenced last week in the conspiracy that operated in several cities in Wyoming including Casper.
Troy Starrett and Steve Rawlings each were sentenced to five years, 10 months imprisonment. Cassandra Long was sentenced to four years, six months imprisonment.
Two other defendants in the conspiracy, Michael Crain and Jayde Mucklow, have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.