FARMINGTON — Two separate juries found him guilty of the same crime — possession of a controlled substance. Now, for a second time, James Vernon Taylor, 43, of Park Hills, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for the offense.
During his first trial on Nov. 10, 2005, a jury found him guilty. However, the Missouri Court of Appeals reversed the judgment and ordered a new trial.
During the second trial in September, the jury again found him guilty. After reviewing a sentencing assessment report and hearing arguments from attorneys on Friday, Circuit Court Judge Sandy Martinez sentenced the man to 15 years in prison.
During both trials, Officer Kyle Short testified he observed Taylor driving a Ford Taurus at about 4 a.m. Feb. 11, 2005. He ran a check on the license plate and found it was registered to a Chevy van.
The officer asked Taylor for his license and arrested the man when he said his license had been revoked. Taylor’s wife was asked to exit the car so that the officer could search the vehicle.
The officer found a glass pipe under a trash liner in a trash receptacle. He later found crack cocaine and another pipe in the wife’s purse.
Short said Taylor told him the glass pipe with the Brillo pad in it was his and he used it for smoking crack cocaine.
Short testified the pipe was discolored and looked like it had been used. The crime lab chemist later confirmed the substance in the pipe was less than .01 grams of cocaine base.
Short also found a baggy with meth residue in the back of his patrol vehicle when he was getting Taylor out of the back seat. However, the first jury found him not guilty of possession of meth so this was not brought up during the second trial.
After conducting field sobriety tests, Short determined Taylor was under the influence of drugs.
Taylor was charged as prior and persistent offender. He had previously pleaded guilty to stealing a motor vehicle in 1996 in St. Louis County and tampering with a motor vehicle in 1996 in St. Louis. He was more recently sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty in this county to stealing and fraudulent use of a credit device.
In other cases, Fernando Alvarez, 25, of Desloge, pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor third-degree assault on a law enforcement officer and was placed on two years of bench probation.
According to court records, Alvarez followed a girl into her residence uninvited and left when he saw the girl’s boyfriend was there.
Desloge officers went to Alvarez’s apartment nearby and told him he was under arrest for burglary.
Alvarez, who was holding a child, said he was not under arrest and began to walk into another room. Officer David Boyer said when he grabbed Alvarez’s arm to keep him from leaving, Alvarez struck him in the mouth. The officer said Alvarez continued fighting him while he tried to place the man in handcuffs. He said Alvarez bit him on the right forearm.
During the struggle, Boyer’s uniform shirt, department badge and watch were damaged.
When an officer from Park Hills and another officer from Desloge arrived to assist with the arrest, Alvarez kicked Desloge Officer Jim Nicholson.
Glen E. Watkins, 43, of Farmington, was sentenced to seven years in prison for two counts of stealing and violating the probation he received for possession of a controlled substance.
Tonya Henson, 33, of Bonne Terre, was sentenced to five years in prison for violating the probation she received for tampering with a motor vehicle.
Tonya Sutton, 29, of Rolla, was sentenced to seven years in prison for violating the probation she received for possession of meth. The judge will consider probation after she completes a 120-day drug treatment program.
Rachel McAuley, 22, of Park Hills, was sentenced to seven years in prison for violating the probation she received for possession of a chemical with intent to create a controlled substance. The judge will consider probation after she completes a 120-day shock incarceration program.
Placed on five years of supervised probation were Bruce E. Cortez, 31, of Farmington, for receiving stolen property; Cheryle A. Loveless, 51, of Irondale, for three counts of possession of a chemical with intent to create a controlled substance; Devin Dale, 21, for possession of meth; and Mark Howell Jr., of Bonne Terre, for possession of a controlled substance.