Hempfield man seeks end to probation on drug charges
Fresh off a weeklong cruise to the Bahamas, a former Fayette County man who settled with the state for $12.5 million in the police shooting death of his son wants a judge to grant him early release from probation on drug charges.
Michael R. Hickenbottom, 40, of 465 Lakewood Road, Hempfield, is on probation until Sept. 14 on drug charges. He was placed on probation on June 14 after serving 44 days in the Fayette jail for attempting to board a flight to Jamaica on May 1 without permission.
Hickenbottom is the father of 12-year-old Michael Ellerbe, who was fatally shot by state police Christmas Eve 2002 as he fled from a stolen sport utility vehicle. State police were cleared of wrongdoing, but the state settled with Hickenbottom for $12.5 million in 2008 after a federal jury awarded him $24 million in a civil-rights lawsuit.
Hickenbottom had to give up his passport when two constables took him into custody at Pittsburgh International Airport on May 1 as he tried to board a plane to Jamaica without a judge's permission. Homeland Security officials flagged him because he was wanted at the time on a bench warrant for failure to appear for a hearing on a probation violation in a drug case for testing positive for marijuana use.
He appeared before Judge Steve Leskinen on June 13 and was sentenced to up to three months in jail for the probation violation. In addition, Leskinen imposed probation through Sept. 14.
Court records show Hickenbottom was given credit for time served and released on probation June 14.
Last month, Leskinen granted Hickenbottom permission to leave the country for a $4,159 cruise Sept. 22-29 to Nassau, Bahamas.
In the motion seeking permission to go on the cruise, Hickenbottom's attorney, James T. Davis of Uniontown, pointed out his client was unaware he needed the court's permission for international travel when he scheduled the vacation.
Leskinen on Aug. 2 granted Hickenbottom permission to go on the cruise.
Through Davis, Hickenbottom is now seeking an early release from parole. In a motion filed Monday, Davis notes that although Hickenbottom violated terms of his earlier probation, he has since “complied with all aspects of his parole/probation,” to include payment of at least $15,000 in court costs and fees.
Davis intends to present the motion Oct. 4, according to court records.
Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.