FARMINGTON — The brother of a homicide suspect spent Christmas in jail but he is trying to appeal his two-month contempt sentence for repeatedly insulting a judge.

Robert Hockman, 29, was arrested Dec. 13 when he called Magistrate Judge Stanley King a fool after Jacob Beach's preliminary hearing. King ruled that Hockman was in contempt of court and sentenced him to 60 days.

Beach, 20, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Sharolyn Keown, an 18-year-old Farmington woman who was shot and killed Nov. 5.

Beach and Hockman are brothers.

Hockman appealed his sentence to district court on Dec. 21. He also filed a motion asking a district judge to release him until his appeal is considered. The document said he doesn't have an extensive criminal history and is not a threat to society.

District Judge Karen Townsend will review the motions. No hearing date has been scheduled.

Matt Beach, Beach's and Hockman's father, said the sentence is excessive.

He said he thought Hockman's punishment was enhanced because Jacob Beach is the subject in a high-profile case.

"In no way do I condone what (Hockman) did," he said. "But shouldn't the punishment fit the crime? My son has been held in jail more than most repeat DWI offenders."

Hockman's outburst stemmed from the stress the family is undergoing after Jacob Beach's arrest, he said.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said Hockman is lucky he's not serving six months in jail, which is the maximum a judge can sentence a person to if they are found in contempt of court.

"We've had people be sentenced to considerably more time for much less," he said. "Calling a judge a fool is pretty egregious."

Jacob Beach was being escorted out of court on Dec. 13 after he waived his preliminary hearing when Hockman told Beach to keep his head up. King told Hockman not to address the prisoner and Hockman called King a fool.

When confronted by the judge, Hockman asked: "Did I stutter?"

Matt Beach said Hockman and other family members wrote King letters apologizing for the incident and asked for the sentence to be lifted.

Hockman "has four children under 7 years old and a fiancee who need his income to survive," Matt Beach said. "If he is held for 60 days this family will be in a homeless shelter."

O'Brien said this type of courtroom episode is rare in San Juan County. He said most contempt of court cases stem from incoherent ramblings or loud outbursts, possibly caused by a mental illness.

"It's rare we see somebody as ill mannered as that," he said. "If that's the kind of attitude he has I foresee he'll get in more trouble in the future."