Convict says unemployment reason for drug dealing

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Marshall County man was sentenced to 10 years in prison last week on drug charges and - in his version of the situation - he was selling because he was unemployed and needed money.

Ecstasy was what Robert J. Davis Jr., 29, was selling, according to his arrest warrant sworn out in December 2008 by Tim Miller of the 17th Judicial District Drug Task Force. The task force got help from postal inspectors.

Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler handed down the 10-year term on March 3 after hearing defense attorney Bill Haywood explain his client deserved leniency. After serving three years, Davis is eligible for a parole hearing.

Davis' explanation is in a report prepared for the judge by the Department of Parole and Probation.

It says: Davis met a woman in Lewisburg, they got involved and he moved in with her. Neither had a job. In Nashville, they told one of her friends' ex-boyfriends they were unemployed and needed money. The friend of a friend gave them Ecstasy and money, gave sales prices, and suggested repayment when they met again in Nashville.

"So we agreed," Davis said. Then the supplier wasn't going to be available as planned, so Davis mailed the money and gave an address for a return shipment of drugs. "We did this three more times," according to Davis' statement. The third time, the package was intercepted, a search warrant was obtained, executed and he was arrested, the court record states.

An agent with the 22nd Judicial District Drug Task Force had called the task force here about an Ecstasy dealer in Lewisburg, court records show. With that and other information, agents contacted a postal inspector who put a hold on packages to a Cornersville Road apartment where Davis was living. When the package was delivered, drug agents, state Trooper Wayne Dunkleman and his drug dog, Rock, obtained probable cause for a search warrant after Rock "alerted" on the package of mailed drugs.

Davis was arrested, released on $10,000 bond, but the court released bondsman Levi Cochran from that contract after Davis was arrested twice on other charges, thereby making him a flight risk, public records show.

Indicted Nov. 18, Davis pleaded guilty on Jan. 6 and was sentenced Wednesday last week on a charge of possession of illegal drugs with the intent to sell, according to court records that list at least three addresses for Davis.

Wednesday last week was one of Judge Crigler's regular court days in Lewisburg and he heard several other cases including the following as described in public records.

* Thomas Anthony Blackwell, 47, of Jackson Avenue, Lewisburg was set for trial March 29 on a charge alleging he sold Lortab to a confidential informant of the drug task force on Jan. 16, 2009, when the task force made audio and video recordings of the transaction. Indicted Dec. 18, Blackwell's criminal history includes charges of selling morphine, escape, drunken driving, and assault in Bedford and Giles counties. March 3, he pleaded guilty to drug charges and was sentenced to seven years in prison. He's eligible for parole after serving 35 percent of the seven years.

* William Thomas Cobb, 19, of Belfast, was sentenced to eight years confinement at 30 percent, but imprisonment was suspended and he was placed on probation supervised by the Tennessee Department of Corrections. He pleaded guilty Nov. 18 to a charge of solicitation of a minor on Jan. 1, 2009, by texting a girl's cell phone. Her mother found the messages and a photo.