By Angela Shepherd firstname.lastname@example.org
April 21, 2014
A jury on Monday found a Greenfield man guilty of meth-related charges after deliberating about half an hour.
Steven P. Chandler, 51, was sentenced to a total of eight years in prison.
Chandler was arrested in February following an indictment charging him with second degree felony illegal manufacture of drugs and third-degree felony illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs.
The jury received the case for deliberation around 2 p.m., returning into the courtroom at 2:30 p.m. to deliver the guilty verdicts on both counts.
Following the reading of the verdicts, defense attorney Conrad Curren asked that jurors be polled, at which point each of the 12 jurors, on both counts, replied, “Guilty.”
According to statements made in closing arguments by Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins, law enforcement served a warrant on Chandler’s Greenfield residence, which was “full of items” used to make meth. She said many of those items were located in Chandler’s bedroom. Collins also said that hours before the Highland County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant at the residence, Chandler purchased pseudoephedrine pills, a necessary ingredient in meth making, but those pills were nowhere to be found when law enforcement searched the home. A one-pot cooker used to produce methamphetamine was also discovered.
Two people who lived in the home, she said, testified to seeing Chandler with bottles and shaking them, which is part of the process of making meth. They also testified, Collins said, to purchasing pseudoephedrine pills for Chandler and one of the witnesses said she saw disposed one-pot cookers in the well of the residence and in trash cans.
But in Curren’s closing statement, he focused on the fact that five other people lived in Chandler’s Greenfield home. Curren asked jurors what evidence there was to support that the items used to manufacture methamphetamine that were recovered from the home, as well as the one-pot cooker, didn’t belong to one or more of the other people living in the home?
Ultimately, the jury found Chandler guilty on both counts and he was sentenced to six years in prison on the illegal manufacture charge and 24 months in prison on the illegal assembly charge.
Judge Rocky Coss noted, after imposing the consecutive prison terms, that the home was in a residential neighborhood and that there were other people around, referencing the dangers present when meth is cooked.
Both attorneys and the judge thanked the jurors for their time and attentiveness. After the jurors’ dismissal Collins said, “I have to commend the sheriff’s office for making a concerted effort to combat the meth problem in this county.”
Chandler has 75 days jail-time credit. He will be under three years of mandatory supervision by the Adult Parole Authority following the completion of his sentence.
Angela Shepherd can be reached at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @ashepherdHTG.