On Wednesday, Kenneth J. Brown, 46, was found guilty on all four counts he was charged with in 2005, including class B felony dealing in narcotic drug (methamphetamine), class C felony possession of a controlled substance within a 1,000 feet of a public park, class A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia and class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger explained the state had to pursue the original charges filed against Brown at the trial, although statutes in Indiana have separated methamphetamine charges from other types of narcotics charges.
On July 8, 2005, the Clay County Sheriff's Department was notified of information about an alleged drug dealer located at a Coalmont residence from an earlier drug arrest by the Linton Police Department.
When deputies arrived at 6548 West Coulson Street, Coalmont, for a "stop and knock," Brown, who had the right to refuse, gave officers consent to search his home.
Defense attorney James Organ unsuccessfully attempted to argue the validity of the officers' use of the controversial search before Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout before trial proceedings began Monday.
Surrounded with surveillance equipment outside and using police scanners inside, officers noted that Brown's residence was located within 1,000 feet of the Coalmont public park.
Once inside the home, officers allegedly discovered prescription drugs, marijuana, methamphetamine and three types of scales. Various types of paraphernalia and miscellaneous items used to ingest or introduce marijuana and/or methamphetamine into the body, including several that contained drug residues, were also discovered.
According to courtroom officials, Brown testified on his own behalf during the three-day court proceedings that, due to the disarray in his unkempt home, he was unaware of the items the officers discovered.
He said someone else must have left them in his home.
However, Reberger produced a string of witnesses from multiple law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation and 19 pieces of evidence, including a chemist from the Indiana State Police Lab, to testify in the state's case.
"This conviction of all four counts is a product of the investigation, which crossed county lines and involved several law enforcement agencies," Reberger said shortly after the jury's unanimous decision on the guilty verdict. "Because of the cooperation and quality of work the officers, especially those of the Clay County Sheriff's and the Linton Police departments, did during the investigation allowed the state to be able to get this conviction."
With the foul weather making travel difficult Wednesday morning, Reberger also wanted to praise the jury, who all arrived on time.
"The jury's efforts in this case need praised," he said. "They went above and beyond their duties during this trial. They were attentive and dedicated to serving justice in this case."
After entering a judgment of conviction, Trout listened to arguments as to whether Brown would be allowed to return to his "out on bond" status or remanded to custody without bond while awaiting the Jan. 12, 2009 sentencing hearing.
Per the prosecutor's request, Trout remanded Brown into the custody of the Clay County Justice Center.
Reberger said the state has not developed a sentencing recommendation at this time for Brown, and is opting to wait for the Adult Probation Department's report.
The potential penalty Brown faces at the sentencing hearing for the class B felony conviction is 6-20 years with the Indiana Department of Correction.
According to Trout, Indiana law requires that the remainder of the Brown's sentences on the other counts would be required to run concurrent with the sentence he receives on the primary charge.