Marcus Cox to spend over five years in prison
By Karen Hall
A young Lewisburg man who was found guilty on drug charges after a jury trial in January was sentenced Wednesday to spend more than five years in prison.
Marcus T. Cox Jr., 21, was sentenced to five years on a sale and delivery of cocaine charge, two years on a marijuana charge, and 11 months 29 days each on the simple possession of Lortabs and possession of drug paraphernalia. All of these sentences will run at the same time. Cox reportedly has a lengthy juvenile record, but his adult criminal record is not so extensive and he still qualifies as a Range I offender. As such, he will have to serve 30 percent of the five-year sentence before being eligible for a parole board hearing.
However, the final charge on which Cox was convicted was "possession of a firearm with intent to go armed during the commission of a dangerous felony." For this the state requires a minimum mandatory sentence of three to five years, to be served after other sentences, and 100 percent of the sentence must be served.
Circuit Court Judge Forest Durard Jr. chose a four year sentence on the weapons charge, so Cox will be in prison for at least five and a half years, assuming his first parole board hearing is successful. The jury has already set Cox's fines at a total of $62,500.
"Mr. Tucker (Cox's appointed defense attorney) did everything he could do," said Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard. "Your honor got to see this man's attitude during the trial. He's constantly around drugs, and add a weapon to the mix and you have one of the more dangerous situations you're going to face as a judge. He's been in trouble since Day 1, and he's going to be a problem from now until the time he dies."
"He's never been given a fair chance," James R. Tucker Jr. argued for his client. "He's been brought up to think these activities are correct. He's still very young -- we're asking for the minimum sentence. You could put him on probation for 15 years, with whatever terms and conditions you want."
Durard disagreed with him, stating Cox's record "speaks for itself."
"Apparently he can't stay out of trouble for a month," the judge said, noting Cox was out on bond from an earlier arrest when he committed the crimes he was tried for.
Also sentenced on Wednesday was Lillian Scott, 53, of Mt. Pleasant, who made an open plea to the charge of sale and delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance (Adderall).
Appointed attorney James Frazier called Scott to the witness stand and asked, "How did you get in this situation?"
"I had a stupid moment," she answered. "They were going to shut the power off." Scott said she tried everything she could think of to get money for the power bill, even calling an ex-daughter-in-law, who turned out to be a confidential informant working for the 17th Judicial District Drug Task Force.
"I can tell you how to make money," the CI allegedly told Scott, hinting she could sell some Adderall.
"I done exhausted all the charitable funds there was," Scott said. "I had no choice," so she set up a deal to sell the pills in Lewisburg. Scott sold 20 Adderall for $5 each, making the deal directly with DTF agent Brad Martin.
"These were your grandchildren's pills," exclaimed Barnard.
Scott has custody of five grandchildren, two of whom take the drug, but insisted, "Their medicine is given as ordered."
She said the pills she sold were extra ones, that she had put aside instead of throwing away.
"The law considers her a favorable candidate for alternative sentencing," said Durard. He sentenced Scott to a total of three and a half years, of which one year is to be on community corrections, and the remainder on regular probation. He also ordered her to pay a $2,000 fine.
"How is that fine going to be paid?" asked Barnard, knowing Scott's monthly income is $1,484 from various types of government assistance.
"She says she can do $150 per month, starting June 1," responded Frazier.