BROOKSVILLE – One day after a six-member jury found him guilty of possession of a controlled substance, fleeing law enforcement and evidence tampering, John Michael Nohejl was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days in the county jail on each count, which will be served consecutively.
Before imposing sentence, Nohejl’s family and friends read statements to Judge Anthony Tatti and begged for a merciful sentencing, and referenced what appeared to be substance abuse issue.
Nohejl’s friend Tom Brown said he’d spent a lot of time with Nohejl over the past 15 years, going fishing and having cookouts.
“He’s a really good friend, a good guy, a good father to his daughter,” Brown said, adding Nohejl had just made some bad personal choices as is only a danger to himself.
Nohejl’s sister, Dawn Hillman, said she’s always been close with her older brother, and his support was invaluable to her success in nursing school. Nohejl in the past worked extra hours to help her put groceries on the table, according to Hillman.
Nohejl, who did not testify during his trial, said he went “off track” last year and accepted responsibility.
Invoking the No Name Storm of 1993, Nohejl said, much like houses needed to be re-built after the storm, he is in the process of restoring his own life.
“My life was destroyed, but I’m rebuilding and on the road to recovery,” Nohejl said, adding he was admitting to his “issue.”
Assistant State Attorney Sonny McCathran said that though Nohejl was remorseful during sentencing, the previous two days of trial reinforced the idea Nohejl did not do anything wrong.
McCathran asked Tatti to sentence Nohejl to one year in jail on each charge.
“Everything your family said is accurate, people make mistakes,” Tatti said. “This goes well beyond a mistake … (and) carries consequences.”
Saying Nohejl should understand the “significance” of what he did, Tatti sentenced Nohejl to 11 months and 29 days in the county jail on each count, as well as four years drug offender probation for each charge, to be served consecutively.
Because Nohejl has 133 days of time already served, he is expected to be in jail about two and a half years.
Nohejl will also need to pay a $5,000 fine, $989 in court costs and perform 100 hours of community service.
After the sentencing, Nohejl’s friend Tom Brown said didn’t think Nohejl received a fair sentence. According to Brown, Nohejl took pain pills after hurting his back at work. Brown also said Nohejl had sleep apnea, which caused him to fall asleep and get in trouble at work.
“A mouse is more dangerous in the closet than John is on the street,” Brown said.