Lawyers: Appalachian Trail was client's 'road to redemption'

Attorneys for a Kentucky accountant who embezzled $8.7 million before going on the run say hiking the Appalachian Trail for six years as a fugitive put him on "the road to redemption."

A sentencing memorandum filed Friday by lawyers for James T. Hammes (HAM'-uhs) seeks a three-year prison sentence. That's less than half of what the federal government is recommending.

Hammes will be sentenced June 22 in Cincinnati. He pleaded guilty last year to wire fraud and agreed to pay back millions diverted from his employer, a Pepsi-Cola bottler.

The U.S. attorney's office seeks more than seven years in prison, citing the amount Hammes embezzled and the fact that he fled.

His attorneys say he has no criminal past, is remorseful and has spent years contemplating his wrongdoing.