Errant inmate's time increased to 20 years

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A self-described cancer patient was in Marshall County Circuit Court last week when he received more prison time in connection with two drug cases because he jumped bond after being allowed to put his affairs in order before going to jail.

Raymond Edward Poindexter, 59, whose most recent address would appear to be the Northwest Correctional Complex in Tiptonville, Tenn., had sold crack cocaine to a confidential informant in 2002, according to documents in one of his local case files.

Ironically, Poindexter's arrest was only a byproduct of an investigation by the 17th Judicial District's Drug Task Force that was "targeting" another criminal who's since served jail time, and has been released on parole. Poindexter is now serving what court officers call "an effective sentence" of 20 years.

The local case is so old that it was now-retired Judge Charles Lee who accepted Poindexter's plea agreement as presented by a District Attorney's office run by a prosecutor who's been retired for more than two years. Poindexter's first local drug case was presented to the Grand Jury in July of 2002, but no indictment was made public until December that year as two more drug charges were filed that October.

Two of the three charges were dismissed by Lee, but the judge handed down a nine-year term for the other charge, allowing the prospect of a parole hearing in about three years, public records show. Lee sentenced Poindexter to nine years in prison, ordering him to return on July 14, 2003 so he may start his prison term. He didn't come back.

During his flight from justice, Poindexter went to Tullahoma where he participated in drug dealing that resulted in a 10-year term issued by the Coffee County Circuit Court which didn't give him time to get his affairs in order before starting that sentence, according to statements by two court officers explaining the case on Wednesday last week in the Marshall County Courtroom where Poindexter faced Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler.

Crigler sentenced Poindexter to one year with the Tennessee Department of Corrections on a charge of failure to appear in court on July 14, 2003. That one-year term is to be served consecutive to the 10 years Poindexter got from Coffee County and after the nine-year term imposed by Lee more than five years ago.

Judgement orders signed by Crigler on Oct. 22 show that Poindexter pleaded guilty of failing to appear on July 14, 2003 and selling cocaine on Oct. 3, 2002. Cocaine delivery and conspiracy charges were dismissed. Those orders are part of a case file that includes a statement from Poindexter.

"I used and sold drugs to pay my medical bills," he said. "I am and was fighting with cancer.

"I do apologize for breaking the law, but that was the only way I could afford my medical bills," Poindexter told a court officer on Aug. 27.

Task Force Director Tim Lane and Agent Bill Ostermann said the $100 drug deal they were investigating was in the 600 block of Fourth Avenue where they used a radio microphone and video camera.

Also revealed by the court record is Poindexter's history of drug use. It began when he was eight years old. He started drinking alcoholic beverages at age 10.

He was in a cocaine addiction treatment program while working for the UniRoyal Tire Co. in Indiana, according to the public record that quotes him as saying he has pancreatic cancer, diabetes and coronary artery disease. An Indiana doctor said he was treated for paraganglioma nearly three years ago. A review of Internet sites indicates that paraganglioma usually includes benign tumors.