FARMINGTON — A 53-year-old Park Hills woman was sentenced to 30 years in prison for selling heroin.
Despite Laura Bevineau-Dickson still maintaining her innocence, Circuit Court Judge Kenneth W. Pratte sentenced her to 30 years in prison for sale of heroin and sale of oxycodone. A St. Francois County jury had found her guilty of the charges in May after deliberating just 30 minutes.
Because Dickson had a prior drug conviction for selling cocaine, St. Francois County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jerrod Mahurin asked the judge to sentence her to life in prison.
Mahurin reminded the judge that many people have died in the Parkland from heroin overdoses in the past couple years.
Special Public Defender Jason Tilley asked the judge to consider a 10-year sentence instead of life. He pointed out that the previous conviction was more than a decade old. He said a life sentence would be entirely inappropriate.
During the trial, two Park Hills police officers and two confidential sources testified that Dickson sold heroin and five Percocet pills to the confidential sources in August of 2009. Both sales took place at apartments on Glendale in Park Hills.
The female confidential source volunteered to help with controlled drug buys after she was arrested on a felony warrant. She has a drug charge pending as well as misdemeanor passing bad checks, and domestic assault charges. Her husband, who has two felony stealing convictions from the 1990s, also volunteered.
Both said they didn’t expect and didn’t ask for a plea bargain in her case as a result of helping the police department. On the day of trial, the St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office disqualified themselves from her case so it would be up to another prosecutor to decide her sentence.
During trial, Tilley made an issue of the confidential source’s pending drug charge and the police department’s failure to do a thorough pat down of the female confidential source.
Tilley also criticized the police officers for erring in their police reports by not including that one of the officer’s observed a hand-to-hand transfer of the drug transaction. The officer said the error occurred because they cut and pasted some of the report.
Mahurin said this is a case about a drug dealer who got caught selling drugs and the hard work the police officers did to get a drug dealer off the street. He said a mistake in a report does not mean the woman is not guilty.
Dickson still has three felony possession charges pending from a later incident. On Wednesday, that case was again passed to a later date.
Teresa Ressel is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 179 or at email@example.com.