Two more in court regarding crack cocaine sting

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Two more defendants from a Hanover Street crack cocaine sting faced hearings on Monday at the Cape Girardeau County Courthouse in Jackson.

One received probation, while the other awaits sentencing.

Carolyn D. Barnes, 37, of 502 S. Hanover St., Apt. 2, was sentenced to five years probation on a suspended execution sentence of five years in prison.

She was the eighth person sentenced out of 17 suspects arrested on warrants stemming from a 2 1/2-month undercover sting. Each defendant was charged with a class B felony with a possible sentence of five to 15 years in prison. Some of those arrested received single counts, while others received up to five counts.

In exchange for Barnes's guilt plea on Aug. 22 to one count of distribution, Cape Girardeau County prosecutor Morley Swingle originally recommended five years in prison and dismissed two other charges. However, during the course of the sentencing assessment report Barnes completed a 30-day rehabilitation program through the Family Counseling Center.

Sentencing reduced

Public defender Jason Tilley said Barnes exhibited a determination to recover. Swingle agreed to reduce the sentencing recommendation.

Circuit Judge Benjamin Syler also assigned Barnes to drug court, requiring that she complete any additional treatment as seen fit by the counseling center.

"What you've got, they don't cure," Lewis said. "You've got to keep working on it for the rest of your life." After taking Barnes's efforts into consideration, Syler said, "From what I've seen so far, you've got the ability to do all that if you want to do it."

Two of the 17 suspects await sentencing.

While appearing a pre-trial hearing on Monday, Marlon L. Turner, 30, of 623 Jefferson Ave., changed his plea to guilty to two charges, and prosecutors dropped two others. He faced a trial jury today.

Prosecutors recommended seven years in prison to run concurrently. Lewis ordered a sentencing assessment report and set sentencing for Jan. 9.

While 10 Hanover defendants pleaded guilty and either received or await sentencing, three await trials and two have arrest warrants out.

Robert Rodriguez, 19, of 323 S. Hanover St., failed to appear for a hearing and an arrest warrant with a $7,500 cash-only bond was set.

Lavontay Johnson, 19, of Charleston, Mo., evaded arrest and a warrant with a $25,000 cash or surety bond was set.

In other drug cases:

* Dorislyn I. Gaines, 35, of 259 Park St., faces a preliminary hearing on Jan. 9. Jackee M. Nicholson, 36, of 100 S. West End Blvd., and Dale Howard, 31, of 259 N. Park St., upstairs apartment, face preliminary hearings on Dec. 28.

Charged with possession

Gaines and Nicholson were charged with one class C felony count of possession of crack cocaine. They are each being held on a $5,000 cash or surety bond and face up to seven years in prison if convicted. Howard faces up to 30 years in prison of one class A felony count of trafficking a controlled substance. He is being held on a $50,000 cash or surety bond.

Cape Girardeau patrolman Rob Watson arrested Gaines and Nicholson on early morning Wednesday when he discovered crack cocaine during a traffic stop. Howard was arrested five hours later after the women named him as their dealer.

jmetelski@semissourian.com

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