(BLOOMFIELD) - A jury convicted 53-year-old Kenneth Murphy, of Dugger, Thursday afternoon of one felony drug possession charge and then he agreed to a guilty plea of being an habitual drug offender.
The habitual drug conviction could enhance his sentence to up to 11 years.
Nick Schneider, of the Greene County Daily World reports, the three-day trial ended with the 12-member jury finding him guilty of possession of methamphetamine - a class D felony. However, he was acquitted of three separate counts - resisting law enforcement - a class A misdemeanor; possession of a methamphatemine while in possession of a firearm - a class C felony; and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon ---- a class B felony.
The jury deliberated for about three hours before returning two acquittals and the guilty plea.
In a second phase of the trial, the jury, which had not been informed of the unlawful possession of a firearm charge by a serious violent felon by state procedural law until after the verdict on the drug charges, then deliberated less than 15 minutes before acquitted Murphy on the firearm charge.
Earlier Joe Burton, the current Knox County Deputy Prosecutor who formerly worked as an Indiana State Police undercover officer during the drug investigation, which resulted in drug conviction of Murphy in 1988, testified about the conviction as the basis the basis for the unlawful possession of a firearm charge.
The proceeding ended with Murphy entering a guilty plea to a fifth count - being an habitual drug offender - an enhancement that could extend his conviction on the 'meth' charge to 11 years in prison, according to Greene County Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Stone, who represented the state of Indiana in the case.
Murphy has four previous drug convictions in Greene, Sullivan and Clay counties dating back 35 years.
He was sentenced in Greene Circuit Court in March, 1988 of dealing in a Schedule I, II or III controlled substance - a class C felony - and received 12 years. On Sept. 5, 2000, he was sentenced for possession of marijuana - a class A misdemeanor and possession of a controlled substance in Sullivan County and received a total of two years and five months in jail. Then, on Nov. 20, 2000, he was sentenced in Clay County to 1 year and five months for possession of a controlled substance.
In addition, Murphy was convicted Aug. 5, 2003 in Greene County for unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious felon.
During questioning after telling the court he wanted to plead guilty to the sentence enhancement, Murphy
Superior Court Judge Dena Martin set a change of plea hearing and sentencing hearing for 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 20.
Murphy, who had been free on bond, was ordered into the custody of the Greene County Sheriff's Department for transport to the county jail, where he will be held until his sentencing.
Murphy was represented by Joseph Lozano of Shapiro & Lozano of Bloomington.
The latest drug charge dates back to March of 2012, when police were called to the scene of a domestic dispute in an alley behind a convenience store in Linton.
Anna Rochelle, of the Greene County Daily World reports, Murphy, who was 52 at the time of his arrest in March of 2012, was charged with multiple felonies involving battery, drugs and guns after police were called to the scene of a domestic dispute in an alley behind a convenience store in Linton.
When officers from the Linton Police Department arrived, they found Murphy and a female behind the store and reported Murphy was non-compliant with instructions from the officers. He had to be physically restrained by three officers in order to get the handcuffs on.
Police said that during a pat-down search of Murphy, they discovered three separate plastic bags that contained more than 10.5 grams of meth.
They also found in Murphy's car an assault rifle (7.62 x 39) with one round in the chamber and one round in the magazine; a .380-caliber pistol that had a shell casing lodged in it; a box of .380-caliber ammunition; a set of digital scales; a shaving bag that contained numerous syringes and spoons containing drug residue; a smoking pipe; numerous plastic baggies that contained meth; and a checkbook belonging to Murphy.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Murphy was convicted March 1,1988 in Greene Circuit Court for dealing a Schedule I controlled substance, a class B felony. The offense is listed under Indiana statute as a serious violent felony.
Also, on Aug. 5, 2003 Murphy was convicted for being a serious violent felon in possession of a firearm.
Murphy, being represented by Defense Attorney Joseph Lozano of Shapiro & Lozano of Bloomington, is facing charges of resisting law enforcement, a class A misdemeanor; possession of methamphetamine, a class D felony; possession of methamphetamine (defendant possessed a firearm), a class C felony; and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, a class B felony.
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