Kole Higgins

Higgins will go to prison

By ANDREW MCGINN

a.mcginn@beeherald.com

 

A former Scranton man was granted a “tremendous opportunity” in 2018 when he received 90 days in jail rather than a prison sentence, County Attorney Thomas Laehn said this week, despite being found guilty by a jury of felony drug charges.

Kole Higgins, 25, appeared again Monday in Greene County district court opposite the same judge, Associate Judge Joseph McCarville, but found little of the leniency, even with two days before Christmas.

Higgins was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison for violating the terms of probation that were set following his prior conviction on multiple felonies.

“Justice was served today for the people of Greene County,” Laehn said.

Higgins was accused of two burglaries that took place around September — one involving someone’s pet birds from a camper trailer in Scranton and the other involving a valuable collection of Muppets memorabilia from an attic in Churdan.

Accepting a plea deal offered by Laehn, Higgins on Monday pleaded guilty to one of the recent burglaries — the one in which a cockatiel and eight lovebirds were stolen while a Scranton resident was bird-sitting.

Higgins also admitted to violating his probation and agreed to pay restitution for both burglaries in exchange for dismissal of the second burglary charge and a charge of driving while barred.

“A 10-year prison sentence is warranted,” Laehn said.

The new burglary charge carried with it a five-year prison sentence, which Higgins will serve concurrently, Laehn said.

Originally suspected by law enforcement of being part of a “large-scale drug trafficking network,” Higgins in 2018 was convicted by a Greene County jury on a half-dozen drug charges.

Law enforcement found more than two pounds of marijuana and nearly $1,000 in cash when they searched his then-house and garage in the 1100 block of Lincoln Street in Scranton.

Facing up to 20 years in prison, he received only 90 days in jail and three years of probation.

“The judge gave him a second chance,” Laehn said Monday. “That was a tremendous opportunity for Mr. Higgins to redeem himself.”

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