- Last Updated on 07:35 AM 08/26/13
- BY The Gazette-Virginian
A 28-year-old South Boston man, Carmichael Jermond Howerton, will serve an effective sentence of 25 years in prison for distribution of cocaine and two other charges after a guilty plea in Halifax County Circuit Court on Thursday.
Howerton pleaded guilty to eight counts of distribution of cocaine, one count of possession of a firearm by a non-violent felon within 10 years of the conviction, and one misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Freshour.
Howerton received a total sentence of 85 years in prison, with 60 years suspended, after reaching a plea agreement with the commonwealth, with the active term consisting of minimum, mandatory sentences, which negate any chances of early release for the defendant.
The defendant was initially charged with eight counts of a third or subsequent offense of distributing cocaine. Howerton agreed to the active 25-year sentence in exchange for the commonwealth amending five of the distribution charges to first offenses and one to a second offense, according to Freshour.
In addition, the commonwealth agreed to nol pros a charge against Howerton for possession of a firearm while possessing a Schedule I/II drug with intent to distribute.
The Halifax/South Boston Regional Narcotics and Gang Task Force, comprised of members of Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, South Boston Police Department and Virginia State Police, initiated an investigation of Howerton in the spring of 2012 making six purchases of cocaine from him between May 31, 2012 and Jan. 15, 2013, according to Freshour.
On Jan. 22, the Task Force and members of the South Boston Police Department executed a search warrant at a South Boston home where Howerton and another individual were arrested.
Additional drugs, a weapon and large quantity of cash also were seized in the raid.
The commonwealth attorney’s office has begun forfeiture proceedings against the suspected drug money seized during Howerton’s arrest.
Pursuant to Virginia Code, any property or money proven to be derived from the distribution of illegal drugs will be forfeited to the commonwealth and returned to local law enforcement agencies.
Regional Drug Prosecutor Matt Freedman served as prosecutor in the case.
Other court cases
• Clevon Ardell Kirby, 20, of South Boston was convicted Thursday of six offenses in connection to trespassing at Green’s Folly Golf Course.
The court convicted Kirby of grand larceny and conspiring to aid or abet in a larceny, as well as unlawfully operating a golf cart on a public highway, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, destruction of property and trespassing.
Sentencing for Kirby was continued to a date in the November court term.
• Anthony Jerome Lanier, 34, of South Boston entered an Alford plea Thursday to the unlawful wounding of Craig Ford.
Under terms of an Alford plea a defendant does not admit guilt but realizes prosecution evidence would make a guilty finding almost a certainty.
Sentencing for Lanier was continued to a date in the November court term.
• Jamarrea Laqwon Coleman, 20, of Gretna pleaded guilty Thursday to a charge for driving after illegally consuming alcohol, in a misdemeanor appeal case.
The commonwealth moved to nol pros two other charges against Coleman during the hearing, one for possessing or purchasing alcohol while under the age of 21 and another for speeding 73/55 MPH zone.
The court sentenced Coleman to a 12-month suspended jail term, conditioned on the defendant’s good behavior for 12 months, and it ordered Coleman to perform 50 hours of community service under supervision of Halifax-Pittsylvania Court Services.
The court also ordered Coleman to complete VASSAP, and it ordered a restricted operator’s license for the defendant for 12 months.
• Curtis Anthony Cox, 23, of South Boston was sentenced Thursday to a two-year suspended prison sentence for perjury.
The court ordered the suspended sentence conditioned on Cox’s good behavior for five years and ordered him placed on probation for one year.
The court additionally ordered Cox to perform 100 hours of community service, pay court costs within six months and submit to random drug tests.
• Hollis L. Jennings, 75, of South Boston entered an Alford plea Thursday to reckless driving in a misdemeanor appeal case.
Under terms of the Alford plea, the commonwealth moved to nol pros another charge against Jennings for refusing a blood/breath test.
The court sentenced Jennings to a 12-month suspended jail term, conditioned on his good behavior for 12 months, and it ordered him to pay a $500 fine, with $250 suspended.
The court placed Jennings under supervision of Halifax-Pittsylvania Court Services, ordered him to complete VASSAP, ordered a restricted operator’s license for the defendant for 12 months and ordered him to pay court costs within 90 days.
• Travis Alastair Ragsdale, 24, of South Boston was convicted Thursday of a charge for failure to appear in court.
The court dismissed another charge against Ragsdale during the trial for contempt of court.
The court sentenced Ragsdale to a $500 fine, with $250 suspended, and it ordered him to pay court costs within 90 days.
• Katie Marie Updike, 22 of South Boston was convicted Thursday of embezzlement from Colortyme.
Sentencing for Updike was continued to a date in the November court term.