It took less than an hour Wednesday for a jury of seven women and five men to find 40 year old Timothy Wade Ford of Brush Creek guilty of initiating a process for manufacturing methamphetamine.
Ford, who stood trial in DeKalb County Criminal Court, is one of three people accused of cooking meth at the swimming hole on Dry Creek at Dowelltown last May.
In addition to the $15,000 fine imposed by the jury, Ford faces a possible sentence of 12 to 20 years in the state penitentiary as a range II offender. State prosecutors have filed a notice with the court seeking enhanced punishment against Ford based on his prior criminal record. Judge David Patterson has set a May 20th sentencing hearing for Ford.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Greg Strong and Phillip Hatch. Ford was represented by local attorney Jim Judkins.
Ford and two co-defendants, 35 year old Terry Wayne Daniels of Alexandria and 24 year old Lydia R. Judkins of Smithville were all arrested in this case on Friday, May 21st.
The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department received a call that day of a possible meth lab in operation at the swimming hole at Dry Creek. Deputies Jeremy Taylor and Steven Barrett responded to the scene and found a pick up truck, but there was no one inside. Shortly after their arrival, the officers heard something in the tall weeds about one hundred feet from the truck and went to investigate. There, they found Daniels and Lydia Judkins engaging in sexual activity. From another location nearby, the officers also heard the sound of glass clinking together. When officer Taylor went to check it out, he found Ford kneeling in tall weeds surrounded by meth lab components including a 2 liter bottle, tubing, drain cleaner, gloves, cold packs, jars that contained 2 layered liquids, coleman fuel, funnels, alcohol, electrical tape, and other items. It appeared that Ford was preparing to cook some methamphetamine, according to Sheriff Patrick Ray.
Ford, Daniels, and Lydia Judkins were all placed under arrest at the scene and a search of Daniels' truck yielded more items commonly used in the manufacture of meth. After arriving at the jail, officers found in Ford's pants pocket a bag that contained a powdery substance believed to be ephedrine.
Sheriff Ray and deputies Taylor and Barrett testified for the prosecution during the trial Wednesday. Ford testified in his own defense, denying that the meth lab belonged to him. Ford claims that he, Daniels, and Judkins drove to the swimming hole that day in Daniels pickup truck. Inside the truck were the meth lab components. According to Ford, after arriving at the swimming hole, Daniels and Lydia Judkins got out of the truck and left him alone. Fearing that he might be caught with the incriminating materials, Ford claims he removed those items from the truck and was placing them in the weeds, when officers arrived and discovered him.
Neither Daniels or Lydia Judkins were called to testify in the case.
In February, Lydia Judkins pleaded guilty to initiation of the manufacture of meth. She received an eight year sentence, all suspended to probation, supervised by community corrections. She was given credit for time served and fined $2,000. Judkins was given jail credit from October 10th, 2010 to February 7th.
The case against Daniels, also charged with initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine, remains pending in court.