Two men convicted in a meth lab case last month were sentenced by Judge David Patterson Monday in DeKalb County Criminal Court
30 year old Scott B. Carroll, Jr received a 30 year sentence as a career criminal while 20 year old Francisco Bustamonte was handed an eleven year term in the local case to run consecutively to a six year sentence in a Cannon County case for the same type of offense.
A criminal court jury of seven men and five women, on Friday August 19, handed down a guilty verdict against the two men, who were charged with initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine and reckless endangerment.
Carroll and Bustamonte were accused of engaging in a process to make methamphetamine at a residence at 200 the Loop Circle in the Midway Community on January 23, 2011. The reason for the reckless endangerment charges was because the men were allegedly cooking meth in the presence of Carroll's sixteen year old sister-in-law, a juvenile, placing her in danger of serious bodily injury from the chemicals which produce a strong odor that is toxic. Another man, 19 year old Wesley J. Hayes, is also charged in the case but he did not stand trial with the other two men. His case remains pending in court.
During the sentencing hearing Monday, probation officer Jessie Paschal testified that Carroll has prior convictions for aggravated robbery, attempted aggravated robbery, and worthless checks. The robberies occurred within three days of each other from August 25-28, 2001.
Assistant District Attorney General Greg Strong asked Judge Patterson to give Carroll the maximum sentence as a career offender, 30 years because he has a previous history of criminal convictions; that he was a leader in the commission of an offense involving two or more criminal actors (in this case); and that he had no hesitation about committing a crime where the risk to human life was high.
Allison Rasbury, the Assistant Public Defender, argued that Carroll should not be sentenced as a career offender because the D.A.'s office failed to meet the deadline prior to the initial trial date for filing with the court the "enhancing factors" or reasons for the harsher sentence. She claimed the range of punishment should be the same as for Bustamonte, eight to twelve years. Rasbury also rebuffed claims that Carroll was the leader in the commission of this crime, pointing out that all three men were in the same room together and they were all wearing protective gloves when officers arrived. As during the trial, Rasbury further stressed that Carroll had not intended bodily harm to anyone, citing the fact that the sixteen year old female, who was in the house at the time, was not anywhere near the bathroom where the alleged hazardous components were found.
Since Bustamonte's criminal history is apparently not as significant as Carroll's, he did not qualify for career criminal status..The range of punishment for Bustamonte is eight to twelve years. Assistant D.A. Strong essentially gave the same reasons as with Carroll why Bustamonte should receive the maximum sentence, which in his case is twelve years.
During the hearing, probation officer Pascal testified that Bustamonte had been convicted in December 2010 of initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine in Cannon County and that he had been granted judicial diversion. Only weeks later on January 23, 2011 Bustamonte was charged in this case. He is also awaiting disposition of an assault case against him which has occurred since his arrest. Bustamonte's judicial diversion probation has since been revoked.
Jim Judkins, attorney for Bustamonte, argued that while his client exercised bad judgement because of his youth, he played only a minor role in this case and that he caused no bodily injury to anyone. He asked the judge to take these mitigating factors into consideration and to impose a lighter sentence.
After weighing the arguments of each attorney, Judge Patterson said Carroll does qualify as a career offender and handed down the 30 year career sentence against him. Instead of the twelve year maximum, Judge Patterson sentenced Bustamonte to eleven years but ordered that the term must be served consecutively to the six year case against him in Cannon County.
In addition to the prison terms, Carroll and Bustamonte must each pay a fine of $27,500 as imposed by the jury. That's $25,000 each for initiation and $2,500 for reckless endangerment.
Motions for a new trial for the two men will be heard on November 16th.
Residential apartments have shared space with commercial establishments in the central business district of Smithville for several years, but the Smithville zoning ordinance has apparently never been amended to legally provide for it.
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To make the update, the Smithville aldermen Monday night approved an amendment on first reading updating a section of the zoning ordinance to provide for residential uses within the B-3 Commercial Zoning District.
Second and final reading passage will be scheduled following a public hearing at the next meeting on Monday, October 3 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.
Mayor Taft Hendrixson said "there is quite a bit of interest in some of the vacant buildings downtown being turned into residential units. Our zoning ordinance does not address that so we need an amendment to that. It has been passed by the planning commission".
The proposed ordinance reads as follows: "Now therefore, be it ordained by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of Smithville, that the following sections shall be amended in the Smithville Zoning Ordinance:
"After public notice and hearing, subject to appropriate safeguards and conditions, the Smithville Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) may permit construction of a new building or rehabilitation of an existing building in the Central Business District for Residential or Mixed Commercial-Residential Use. In reviewing applications for such uses or conversions of buildings, the Board of Zoning Appeals will consider the overall effect of the proposal to the area and surrounding properties so that there will not be a detrimental effect to the stability and viability of the Central Business District. In making this determination, this board must evaluate the availability of utilities, number of units proposed, city's capacity to respond effectively to emergencies, and availability of off-street parking".
" The following conditions must also be met:
A. Submit site plan and floor plans for BZA review.
B. Provision of some off-street parking spaces for new residential construction that meets the parking requirements for the R-3 Residential Zoning District. Parking for existing structures being rehabilitated/converted to a residence shall be provided on public lots if none are available on site
C. Landscaping of the property if new residential construction
D. Minimum square footage of dwelling units of 650 square feet for one-bedroom unit, 900 square feet for a two-bedroom unit, 1100 square feet for a three-bedroom unit.
E. All new residential construction shall meet R-3 requirements on number of units and setbacks
F. Adherence to requirement of the 2006 International Residential Code and later amendments/updates."
In other business, Mayor Hendrixson said the city has been awarded an airport grant from the state in the amount of $61,000. The city's matching portion is $15,000. The funds have been used to purchase an 83 horsepower John Deere tractor, a 15 foot John Deere bushhog, a front end loader, and a zero turn commercial mower. He added that about seven thousand dollars will be left from the grant to purchase another commercial mower.
Meanwhile, Mayor Hendrixson reported that city officials may know by next month whether an application filed last year for a one million dollar sewer rehab disaster grant will be approved. "I went to an Upper Cumberland Development District meeting last week. We applied for the grant last year and we should hear from that by next month. We were able to show where (groundwater) infiltration into our (sewer) lines has caused an overrun in our sewer plant. Hopefully we'll get the grant or at least a portion of it," said Mayor Hendrixson
The city is seeking up to one million dollars in Disaster Recovery CDBG Funds from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to ensure that much needed rehabilitation of the sewer system is met to avoid any problems that may arise in the event of severe flooding. The UCDD filed the application on behalf of the city.
Alderman Shawn Jacobs asked again for city officials look into putting in a sidewalk on at least one side of Anthony Avenue near Walmart to keep people from walking in the street, going to and from the store. Jacobs said it is a safety concern, especially at night if pedestrians are wearing dark colored clothing, making it more difficult for motorists to see them. Mayor Hendrixson said constructing sidewalks there will be a challenge because of deep ditches on either side of the street but he will check this week to see what can be done. Walmart officials may also be contacted to see if they want to support the endeavor in some manner.