Judge refuses leniency request; man gets 7 years

Published 5:00 am Friday, September 19, 2003

A Brookhaven man’s attempts to get leniency proved unsuccessfulThursday as he was sentenced to serve seven years in prison on autoburglary and conspiracy charges.

As Don Williams, 44, of 301 Marr St., awaited sentencing, JudgeMike Smith asked him about four prior felony convictions and fourprior probation revocations. The judge wanted to know what it wouldtake to get Williams’ attention.

“I already got it right here, your honor,” Williams said as hedisplayed a red Bible.

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Smith pointed out the Bible appeared to be “brand-spanking new”and to have come from the Gideons.

“That means you haven’t thought enough to go buy you one,” Smithsaid.

Williams professed his sincerity as the judge took a closer lookat his criminal history.

“Holy moly, what a rap sheet,” Smith said, referring to threepages of misdemeanor offenses.

Following a brief recess to review the District Attorney’sOffice’s sentencing recommendation, Smith sentenced Williams to atotal 12-year sentence and ordered him to serve the first seven.The last five were to be served under post release supervision.

The amount of time to be served was the same as the DA’srecommendation. However, the five years of post release supervisionwas a variation on the sentence.

Williams asked if he could be allowed to leave briefly toaddress a family-related matter. The judge denied the request,pointing out that Williams had pleaded guilty on Sept. 8.

“You’ve had 10 days to take of business,” Smith said.

In addition to the jail time, Williams was ordered to pay a$1,000 fine, half of a restitution amount and to seek alcohol anddrug treatment.

Williams then tried to back out of his guilty plea.

“I really didn’t do what I’m charged with,” Williams said.

Smith said Williams had knowingly and voluntarily pleaded.

Assistant District Attorney Diane Jones said the court recordwould show Williams and a co-defendant were spotted breaking intoan automobile at a local motel. She said two witnesses couldtestify to seeing the men in the car.

Four other defendants pleaded guilty and were sentencedThursday. Those defendants and their charges included:

* Everald George Ivey, 52, of Houston, Texas — unlawfulpossession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He was sentencedto four years, ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, and to attend weeklyNarcotics Anonymous meetings for a year following his release.

* Wendell W. Meredith, 32, of Jackson — possession of stolenproperty and conspiracy. He was sentenced to a total of two years,to be served on post release supervision, and to pay a $1,000fine.

* Michael Chad Wallace, 22, of 148 Wakefield Lane — possessionof a firearm by a convicted felon. He was sentenced to three yearsand ordered to serve the first six months concurrently with hissentence in another case.

* Scott E. Crosby, 33, of 2035 Parkhill Lane, Bogue Chitto –unlawful possession of at least two grams, but less than 10 grams,of methamphetamine. He was sentenced to four years, suspended forfive years probation; to pay a $1,000 fine; and to attend weeklyNarcotics Anonymous meetings for a year.

Two defendants pleaded guilty Thursday and were to be sentencedFriday following pre-sentencing investigations. They included:

* Carl Washington, 21, of 2125 Dixie Road — armed robbery.

* George Brown, 24, of 126 North Jackson St. — possession ofstolen property.

In other court events Thursday, bonding agents for twodefendants in separate cases surrendered their clients back to thecourt after determining them to be flight risks.

Sandra McDaniels, 32, of 1226 Gleason Loop, and Chauncy Watson,30, of Jackson, were ordered back to jail until they could securean approved bond for their release. McDaniels was in court to bearraigned on an aggravated assault charge while Watson was presenton a felony shoplifting charge.

McDaniels’ attorney James Noble objected to his client beinghandcuffed and asked the judge to not have her shackled. He saidshe was not a threat and would not run from authorities.

Bailiff Irvin Roberson, however, mentioned a recent incident inwhich a female client tried to run away even while handcuffed.Smith sided with the bailiff.

“We leave it up to court security and the sheriff’s office todetermine who they put the handcuffs on,” Smith said.

Arraignments proceedings in a number of other cases were eitherwaived or continued to allow defendants time to get an attorney.Waiver of arraignment constitutes a not guilty plea.

Several defendants were assigned to be represented by the publicdefender’s office. Smith warned defendants that the publicdefender’s office was not “food stamps.”

“If you plead guilty or are found guilty, you’ll have to pay thecounty back for the lawyer,” Smith said.

At Public Defender Gus Sermos’ request, Smith admonished thedefendants to make themselves available to meet with theirattorney. Sermos mentioned some problems in meeting with clientsdue to conflicts the defendants’ work schedules.

“When we need to see them, we need to see them for the court’sbusiness to proceed,” Sermos said.