• Patrick Cannon reports to federal prison in West Virginia

    By: Mark Becker

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon reported to federal prison at FCI Morgantown in West Virginia Tuesday, just before noon.

    Officials said Cannon was checked into prison at 11:40 a.m.

    A Day in the Life: A glimpse at daily life in federal prison

    Channel 9 saw a black SUV pull up to the prison grounds behind a small guard shack and saw a person, who was believed to be Cannon, transferred into another vehicle and driven to a building inside the prison.

    Over the next 24-48 hours Cannon will undergo an orientation process that will include a mental health evaluation, a physical evaluation and likely a strip search.

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    READ MORE: Patrick Cannon ballot removed; heads to prison Tuesday

    Monday was Cannon's last day spent as a free man.

    A probation officer said Cannon left his home Monday and Channel 9 confirmed Cannon arrived in West Virginia and was staying in a hotel overnight.

    Cannon had to report to prison Tuesday by noon or he would have been listed as an escapee.

    Before Cannon scheduled to report to federal prison in West Virginia, U.S. Probation officers were discussing the monitoring system that they used to track Cannon while he was on house arrest since Nov. 6.

    “If he goes out of range of this, the GPS signal will turn on,” said Steve Levinson, the man who tracks the electronic monitors at the probation office.

    SPECIAL SECTION: Read and view more of our coverage on Patrick Cannon

    Levinson showed Eyewitness News a monitor like the one Cannon is wearing -- about 1 inch by 2 inches -- that is attached to his ankle with a rubber strap that will send a signal if Cannon leaves home or if someone tries to tamper with it.

    In the 11 days Cannon has been wearing it, probation officers said that hasn’t happened.

    “There have been none (violations),” said Debbie Fackrell, who supervises officers at the probation office in Charlotte.                   
            
    Fackrell said that except for his high profile, Cannon’s case has been routine, and like most white-collar criminals, he is considered a low-risk client.

    “The day that they come in they're released on bond. There's not a lot of problems. These people are generally employed with stable residences and support out in the community,” Fackrell said.

    Once his electronic monitor is removed it was up to Cannon to make it to the federal prison near Morgantown, West Virginia, by the reporting deadline of noon, Tuesday. Once he is there, he will no longer be one of their clients.

    “For us it's just a basic case. He'll report, he'll go from being supervised by a probation officer to being given a case manager, and he'll report and be treated just like anybody else who's at the camp,” she said.

    If Cannon does not report on time, Fackrell said he would be considered an escapee -- who could face additional prison time and be sent to a higher-security prison.

    Cannon should expect next 24 hours to be overwhelming

    Former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon’s beard has grayed, his brow was furrowed and his apologies were profuse. Last time he was seen in public was after he faced a judge for casting a ballot as a convicted felon.
     
    “This was a careless judgment in error on my behalf,” Cannon said as he stood outside Charlotte's federal courthouse.
     
    He was put on house arrest for voting illegally in the election. He had already been convicted of taking bribes as mayor and was sentenced to 44 months in prison.  

    READ MORE: Patrick Cannon Timeline
     
    With his sentence about to begin those who've been in his shoes say he faces an emotional gauntlet.
     
    “There's this overwhelming sense of dread," said Webb Hubbell.
     
    Hubbell was a high ranking member of President Bill Clinton's White House who spent 16 months in prison for overbilling clients while a lawyer. Hubbell said Monday night will be one of the longest and hardest of Cannon’s life. 
     
    “He's thinking 'I'm starting to get scared because I don't know what I’m about to deal with,’” Hubbell said. “’How am I going to get through this? Whether it’s two years, four years, three years, how am I going to endure all that?’”

    IMAGES: Morgantown FCI - Prison where Patrick Cannon will stay
     
    Before he was sentenced to 44 months in prison, Cannon spoke emotionally in court about the pain of leaving his family behind. 
     
    Hubbell said the reality of his departure will make Monday night excruciating.

    READ: Visitation policy at FCI Morgantown
     
    “He's hugging his family a lot because he's not going to get to do that again until he gets out. There's no physical contact even when they visit. They can't touch each other,” he said.

    In the aftermath of his own time in prison, Hubbell has counseled dozens of others about what to expect from their time in prison. He said Cannon can expect the next 24 hours to be overwhelming. 

    “It's just a whole lot to overcome. It’s punishment. Don't let anybody kid you,” Hubbell said.

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