Man reverses his decision to plea

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Lewisburg man almost pleaded guilty on drug charges last week in Circuit Court, but ended up with a jury trial date.

John Paul Hurt, 59, of Peartree Apartments, was answering Judge Robert Crigler's questions about whether he was fit to plead guilty.

"Do you understand what you're doing?" Crigler asked.

"Not really," answered Hurt, who said he was hard of hearing and suffering from untreated high blood pressure.

"I'm really not guilty," Hurt said a few moments later, and Crigler abandoned his questions and set a trial date of March 1. Hurt is represented by the public defender's office.

Other guilty pleas and sentencings went off without a hitch on Feb. 17.

Jason N. Curry, 31, of 4th Avenue North, pleaded guilty to charges of sale and delivery of cocaine, possession of cocaine with intent to sell and deliver, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Crigler sentenced Curry to 10 years probation, plus a $2,000 fine and court costs. He was ordered to spend five months in jail. Curry is an experienced construction laborer and heavy equipment operator, and the judge said if he could find a suitable job in Marshall County before reporting to jail on March 3, he could be on work release from the jail.

Curry is the divorced father of two boys, and, according to the pre-sentence report prepared by Lorannda Borja, a parole and probation office, he profoundly regrets getting mixed up with drugs. He said, "In a way I'm thankful" for the arrest that stopped the problem.

"I believe in hard work," Curry told Borja. "I don't want my boys to know about this. I'm proud of my children and my job."

Michael S. Hendrix, 29, of Columbia, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, and was sentenced to serve four years and six months. As a "standard" offender, Hendrix will have to serve 30 percent of that time, or just over 16 months, before he's eligible for parole. He has a pre-trial jail credit of 55 days. Hendrix entered the Liggett Street home of his estranged wife on Christmas Eve and took a Wii game and an Xbox cover. Hendrix admitted to Lewisburg Police Department Officer Brad Martin that he was intoxicated at the time.

James M. Clark, 39, of Wiles Lane, pleaded guilty to driving after having been declared a habitual motor vehicle offender, and was sentenced to serve one year and six months, and pay a $250 fine. Clark will serve about five and a half months before being eligible for parole, but he has a pre-trial jail credit of 47 days. Clark's problems with driving and law enforcement date back to a 1990 DUI in Giles County, and he was declared HMVO in 2008.

All three who pleaded guilty and were sentenced were represented by the public defender's office.