The prosecutor discusses the state’s position

2013-11-14T04:55:00Z 2013-11-15T08:32:20Z The prosecutor discusses the state’s positionTERESA RESSEL 573-518-3613 Daily Journal Online
November 14, 2013 4:55 am  • 

St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney Jerrod Mahurin was asked if he felt the sentences the DePriests received Tuesday were appropriate.

Mahurin said factors included the amount of marijuana Natalie and David DePriest had and that they “were moving,” and this was not a first-time marijuana case.

He believes by the weight they were moving, the DePriests were “affecting a lot of people across the county, so they got what they deserved.”

In his arguments during the sentencing hearing, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Pat King said the DePriests had a large-scale grow operation that was illogical to believe was for their own benefit. He added they had guns and bullet-proof vests.

Mahurin, who was on vacation at the time of the sentencing, said Viets pled open cases (no plea agreement) knowing Natalie and David DePriest could get the maximum sentence. He said Viets turned down all plea offers that his office had offered.

“When you turn down all plea offers, you run the risk of getting a big sentence,” Mahurin said Thursday afternoon.

Mahurin said Viets was so sure that his clients were going to get probation.

It wasn’t just the prosecutor’s office recommending against probation. In this circuit, Presiding Judge Kenneth W. Pratte requires the Board of Probation and Parole to make a recommendation in each Sentencing Assessment Report ordered.

Both reports for the DePriests recommended against probation, according to the judge during the hearing — as these reports are confidential. David DePriest’s report showed that he had a prior drug felony while in the military, which his attorney denied. It was stated Natalie DePriest had nothing other than a previous bad check charge.

Mahurin said he’s seen longer sentences for similar cases.

Now, will Natalie and David DePriest have to serve 15 and 22 years, respectively, behind bars? Most likely not.

“They will serve a very small fraction (of the sentence) because of Probation and Parole guidelines,” Mahurin said.

While the majority of readers who commented on the original Daily Journal article about the sentencing — whether on Daily Journal Online or the newspaper’s Facebook page — seemed upset about the sentencing, there were several in favor of the sentencing because marijuana is illegal.

One reader posted, “Don't break the law, agree or not, the law is the controlling factor, if you live on the edge ultimately you will fall one way or the other.”

A woman posted, “Forget the drug ... what about all the weapons? Obviously there's more going on here than a pot organization. Mix drugs and weapons ... this is more than leisurely consumption.”

Another posted, “I'm extremely happy with Pratte's decision! Finally 2 people are actually going to pay for their actions. Now if only every law breaker would get just sentences. I personally don't think private consumption of pot is any worse than alcohol, growing it, firearms, bullet proof vests aren't private consumption attire ...”

Another posted, “Pot is an illegal drug, they need to go to prison. I do agree they should be sentencing worse crimes more time, but I guess that what happens when one person has the power over your life. For something you know is illegal ... and you do it and get caught.”

Yet another posted, “First of all no one's parent had any money to get them off, this isn't the first time Dave got into trouble. Selling and growing is illegal. The guns, bulletproof vests, ammo made it worse for them. I am not going to argue about this topic. It's against the law period.”

Another reader raised a point about legislation to another blogger who suggested voting the judge and prosecutor out of office. This person stated, “I find your argument very disturbing. Now, I have no argument with your premise that child molesters should get longer sentences, I personally think life, but to assert that a judge and prosecutor should be removed for sending two people to prison for breaking the law is stupid. Rather than fight to remove these two you should encourage people to call and write their legislators to change the laws making child molestation have longer sentences with no plea bargaining or mandatory minimums and to reduce the consequences for marijuana offenses....”

Teresa Ressel is the assistant managing editor for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3613 or

Copyright 2015 Daily Journal Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(13) Comments

  1. blasterrat1
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    blasterrat1 - November 20, 2013 3:56 pm
    Acegranny; A mess would be a society who spend millions to prosecute weed offense while most of it [society] does not think we should. My arguement is'nt whether these two broke a law. Obviously they did. Its why are we so absurd to waste millions prosecuting for something so minimal as weed? That IMO is silly of us.
  2. Acegranny
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    Acegranny - November 20, 2013 12:01 pm
    They and any others using illEgal drugs should be in jail, hence "ILLEGAL". oh blaserrat, you are a mess for sure.
  3. blasterrat1
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    blasterrat1 - November 19, 2013 5:43 pm
    Well He should be since society is paying the bills,including His salary!
  4. blasterrat1
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    blasterrat1 - November 19, 2013 5:41 pm
    Krn 50: Yes they are to blame. However when 58% percent of us think weed should be legalized it sheds a different light on the sentences given to these two. Basicly that in the eyes of our Courts what 58% percent of us think does not matter. Yes the law is the law. But our system IMO should serve the best interest of those who foot the bill for it. These lengthy sentences at great cost to us the tax payers do not serve the interest or desires of the 58%. We are now paying approx one million dollars for the prosecution/incarceration of two person who most of us think did'nt commit an offense that should be prosecutable in the first place. At least not to the extreme the elected officials chose to do anyhow. Seems they dont realize who employees them. That most of their employers [58%] were not served well by their efforts. However I do realize your position given cases like this eqaul job security for you. Again is it fair for those footing the bills? IMO NO!
  5. SteveFromTampa
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    SteveFromTampa - November 19, 2013 10:52 am
    Couple the loose cannon with "the law is the law" judge (except when it isn't), and you've got a legal system that is simply not fair.
  6. ktrain 50
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    ktrain 50 - November 19, 2013 9:44 am
    Interesting Comments here but lets see where the blame belongs "David & Natalie" the prosecutor and judges are doing the job they were elected or appointed to do. Decisions made are not always popular, just because there is a movement in this country by some to try and legalise marijuana that should not even be an issue here. What was done was against the law and both were High School Graduates, and one has a College Degree, if you break the law and get caught why are we to complain because the persons who broke the law is being punished. When you make a decision to do something you know is wrong and get caught don't cry about it, the time they received may be more than they should have got be we all have our thoughts on how much time a person should get when they go to court there is no way to please all.

  7. semo_gal
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    semo_gal - November 18, 2013 1:26 pm
    I agree with innocent bystander. Greenhorn is a perfect description of this current prosecutor. Another phrase which accurately describes him is "loose cannon". He's on a power trip and continues to file any charges which he feels will get him some free publicity whether there's merit or not. He doesn't care how many lives he destroys in his quest for power. All I can say is we need to pray to God someone files to run against him in the next election. After all, he wasn't voted into his present position, he was appointed so we got stuck with him by default. However, he doesn't seem to realize that!
  8. blasterrat1
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    blasterrat1 - November 18, 2013 9:32 am
    Large scale operation? 17 pants if mature will produce perhaps 4lbs. Thats by no means a large scale operation. There was not even any cash found to indicate sales of product! Facts are 58% favor legalization. For those persons this case really is nothing more than wasted tax dollars thru prosecution that "most" think should not have even occurred. With that said it appears that Mr. Mahurin's actions are best only as seen by Him and the remaining 42%. It seems our judicial system rarely considers whats in the best interests of those it serves when disposing cases. IE. Perhaps in the eyes of some these criminals got what they deserved. But for the taxpayers, and the 58% that think weed should be legal, we simply got a unneccesary bill of thousands of dollars to pay! Seems we really arent any smarter than those that smoke weed when we spend millions fighting against something that most think should be legal. Crazy World indeed.
  9. innocent bystander
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    innocent bystander - November 16, 2013 11:37 am
    I DO vote. At EVERY election. And anyone who is on the public payroll must answer to those who pay the taxes that furnish their check, or be sent down the road at the next election. I'm sure Jay Nixon in cringing at his choice of this obvious green-horn appointee (and getting a few letters himself). Public backlash is what you must bear if you want to be in public office. Nobody is perfect, and this case proves that the judge and prosecutor are in that group. The will of the people...
  10. GnuInTown
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    GnuInTown - November 16, 2013 7:35 am
    Hold on now, let's pin the tail on the real donkey here. Prosecutor was appointed by the governor, judge was elected by the good citizens of St. Francois County. Agree or disagree with their actions the lesson is that elections have consequences. The 80% or more of qualified citizens who repeatedly FAIL to vote have forfeited their right to complain.
  11. GnuInTown
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    GnuInTown - November 16, 2013 7:18 am
    The duty of a judge is to uphold and enforce the law, not be sensitive to the "feelings" of society.
  12. thingsneedchangin
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    thingsneedchangin - November 15, 2013 7:49 pm
    Regardless of sentence guidelines, Judges and prosecutors have the power to modify sentences to what is appropriate. Obviously Judge Pratte is out of touch with current feelings of society.
  13. innocent bystander
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    innocent bystander - November 15, 2013 3:12 pm
    Not all publicity is good publicity. Those who are intent "climbing the ladder" often don't see that they're climbing the wrong side of the rungs. "By the weight of what they were moving..."(???), "affecting a lot of people across the county...(???). Who are you trying to snow job with that silliness. Almost as silly as making a rifle "illegal" because it was 1/4 of 1" too short. It wasn't like a sawed off shotgun. Is this the way our county prosecutor and police work?? Like I said before, there are two ways to climb a ladder. And one of them will make you look ignorant.
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