AUBURN — Two years after being sentenced to probation, Brandon Hinman could now face up to 14 years in prison.
The 34-year-old Weedsport native returned to Cayuga County criminal court Thursday on a charge of violating probation.
Hinman was initially sentenced to six months in jail and five years probation back in June 2015 after pleading guilty to two felonies — third-degree grand larceny and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. At the time, the Army veteran had admitted stealing nearly $50,000 in funds raised for his family following the premature birth of his twin daughters and the unexpected death of his wife, Jenna, in 2014.
According to Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann, there were three primary conditions of Hinman's probation: he had to pay restitution, complete felony drug court and fulfill his duties as a father.
Two years later, both the district attorney and Hinman's in-laws said he has continuously violated those conditions.
Hinman's first violation of probation occurred two months after his initial release from jail in late 2015 when he was arrested and charged with driving with a suspended license. Then, in May 2017, he was arrested again for allegedly failing to report to court, missing probation meetings, leaving the jurisdiction and using drugs and alcohol.
In court Thursday, Hinman denied another violation. Judge Thomas Leone accepted the denial, but offered Hinman a deal — if Hinman pleaded guilty to the violation, Leone would sentence him to two to six years in prison. Otherwise, Hinman could face 2 1/3 to seven years in prison on each count, which could run consecutively for a total of 14 years.
After Hinman's denial, Jenna's mother, Kim Blaisdell, said the family was relieved the case was back in criminal court and hoped it would be resolved soon.
"(Brandon) is not a fool. He went to college for criminal justice. He knows what to do and what not to do and he's just prolonging it," Blaisdell said. "He could plead guilty ... which would save a lot of time and taxpayer money, but (regardless) we believe justice will be served."
Hinman has been incarcerated at the Cayuga County jail without bail since May 15. He will appear back in court for a hearing June 29.
"We want justice," Blaisdell said. "(Brandon) has had no care in the world. Maybe now he'll sit in prison and think about everything that he's done."