Newbill sentenced to 12 years in drug case

Friday, April 11, 2014

By Karen Hall

Editor

A Columbia man who was one of three people who brought almost an ounce of crack cocaine to Lewisburg last summer was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Adrian Newbill, 43, was convicted by a Marshall County jury in February after a two-and-a-half-day trial. Newbill claimed he did not know why a man and a woman asked him for a ride to Lewisburg on Aug. 26. According to testimony heard at the trial, the pair thought they were going to sell an ounce of crack for $1,400, but the buyer was a confidential informant working for the 17th Judicial District Drug Task Force. The woman was dropped off at the KFC to make the deal, but the men were spooked when they spotted what they thought were undercover agents in the area. They picked her back up and left, but were stopped a short time later, with all the crack still in Newbill's vehicle.

Last Friday, Circuit Court Judge Lee Russell ordered Newbill to pay a $2,000 fine, and sentenced him to 12 years in prison, of which he must serve 30 percent before being eligible for a parole board hearing.

Newbill's pre-sentence report by Tara Cannon of the Board of Probation and Parole reveals he was born in Indiana and raised in Michigan. After his first wife died, he moved to Kentucky, and then to Tennessee, where he lived in Columbia with his second wife.

"My life is, and has been, pretty standard, short of going to prison in Kentucky. I've been as law abiding as I could be," Newbill told Cannon.

He was referring to a 2008 conviction for robbery, tampering with evidence, and second-degree burglary. Newbill was sentenced to 10 years at 20 percent, and paroled in September 2010.

Newbill has a total of 10 children, Cannon reported, and owes $600 per month in child support to two different women.

The other two people involved in the crime for which Newbill was convicted are Laura Carter of Spring Hill, who is represented by the Public Defender's Office, and Shaun Cross of Columbia, who is represented by appointed attorney Debbie Zimmerle.

"Each one of them will get their day in court," said Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard during Newbill's trial.

Also sentenced in Russell's court on Friday was Seth A. Lepere, 21, of Killen, Ala., who violated the probation he was granted last year when he pleaded guilty to promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine.

When Lepere was sentenced for that in October, Russell noted from the pre-sentence report that he had an ACT composite score of 28, and a high school GPA of 3.94. Lepere graduated from Lexington High School in 2010 with an "Advanced Academic Endorsement" on his diploma.

Deciding to give the young man with a potentially bright future a second chance, Russell placed Lepere on probation for three years, specifically ordering both regular and random drug tests.

"If you have a positive drug screen, it's over," warned Russell, and this is what happened: Lepere tested positive for marijuana and oxycodone on March 6. His probation was also violated because Lepere paid the $2,000 fine, but none of the court costs.

Russell also sentenced Jennifer Rose White, 21, of Culleoka, to a total of two years in prison, of which she must serve 30 percent before being eligible for a parole board hearing. White -- in some records called Jennifer Dawes -- was charged with Tenncare fraud and failure to appear. The Tenncare fraud was committed in April 2013, when she used Tenncare to pay for a doctor visit and a prescription for hydrocodone, concealing the fact she "planned to unlawfully distribute a portion of said prescription," according to the indictment.

White (or Dawes) got the failure to appear charge when she did not show up for her jury trial on Feb. 1. Circuit Court Clerk Elinor Foster stated this caused an expense of $1,090: 90 jurors at $11 each, and two court officers at $50 each. Russell ordered this amount to be paid in restitution.