A plea deal keeps a Warren County man convicted of dealing cocaine in the area from serving life in prison.
Judge Clifford L. Athey Jr. sentenced Carl Lee Roberts in Warren County Circuit Court on Jan. 28 to 30 years in a state penitentiary with 24 years suspended, leaving the defendant with six years to serve, for committing three counts of distribution of cocaine and one count of possession of the cocaine with the intent to distribute the drug, having been convicted of two or more such offenses.
The amount of time Roberts must serve falls at the low end of the sentencing guidelines provided to the court. The guidelines recommend Roberts spend six years to nine years and 11 months in prison.
A grand jury indicted Roberts, 53, on July 2 to three counts of distribution of cocaine as a third or subsequent offense and possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, having been convicted of two or more such offenses. The indictment charges Roberts with possession of cocaine on Dec. 14, 2017, with the intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine on Nov. 21, 2017, Nov. 30, 2017, and Dec. 14, 2017.
A conviction of a third or subsequent offense of cocaine distribution carries a punishment of the mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to the maximum of life in prison. The state limits the maximum fine at $500,000.
Athey accepted an agreement reached between Commonwealth’s Attorney Brian Madden and Roberts’ lawyer D. Eric Wiseley that called for the defendant to plead guilty to the indictments, amended to first offenses for each felony. Athey sentenced Roberts per the agreement to 10 years in prison with seven years suspended on each of two counts of cocaine distribution and ordered the terms to run consecutively. The judge sentenced Roberts to five years, all time suspended, on the third count of cocaine distribution, and five years with all but time served suspended for a fourth count of cocaine distribution. The judge fined Roberts $500, all suspended, on each charge.
Athey ordered Roberts to complete three years of supervised probation upon release from incarceration.