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Testimony lengthens dealer’s sentence


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A drug defendant testifying at his sentencing ended up with a longer prison sentence after the judge questioned his story.

Calvin L. Watkins, 42, 5220 Regency Drive, was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison — with five of them suspended — by Bartholomew Circuit Court Judge Stephen Heimann.

Watkins pleaded guilty to one count of dealing in methamphetamine last November as part of a plea-bargain agreement.

Under the agreement terms, the office of Bartholomew County Prosecuting Attorney Bill Nash agreed Watkins would not have to serve more than 10 years in prison. Five years of the sentence was to be served on probation, according to the plea agreement.

Before conflicting testimony became apparent after Watkins took the stand on his own behalf, Heimann said he was considering ordering a sentence of less than 10 years.

Case background

Watkins pleaded guilty to one count of dealing in methamphetamine last November as part of the plea bargain.

Watkins had earlier been charged with three counts of dealing in methamphetamine, all Class B felonies, according to court records.

He was accused of selling meth to a confidential police informant twice in February 2013.

Within an hour of a third drug buy on March 5, 2013, police searched his mother’s home, where Watkins was living. According to a probable-cause affidavit, police found glass smoking pipes, digital scales, two small corner-cut bags containing meth, and other drug-related items.

Last fall, Watkins accepted the plea agreement that allowed him to plead guilty to one of the two drug-dealing counts in exchange for the remaining charge being dropped.

Testimony

While on the stand Thursday, Watkins claimed he never financially profited from selling meth, doing it only as a favor for a homeless friend who had helped him in the past. According to Watkins, his only compensation was “an occasional buzz” and “a little pot.”

Watkins also claimed he kept all drugs, paraphernalia and cash in his vehicle — not in his mother’s house on the city’s far east side. Under Indiana forfeiture laws, the home could be confiscated if it was proven the residence was used for drug dealing.

But on cross examination, chief deputy prosecutor Kathleen Burns noted police surveillance tapes show Watkins bringing the drugs from inside his mother’s house during all three drug buys, which occurred outdoors. The bags of meth were found in his bedroom nightstand, she said.

Some pseudoephedrine, a basic ingredient for making meth, was also found in the bedroom, Burns said. In response, Watkins said he only kept aspirin in the nightstand, adding the other drug items may have belonged to another family member.

Burns — who pointed out Watkins identified two different people as the drug-dealing friend during the investigation — also provided evidence showing Watkins set up the meth deals.

While Watkins claimed his homeless friend didn’t have a car, he also testified the friend frequently drove to the defendant’s home, Heimann said.

“You would have been better off not testifying here today,” the judge told Watkins after he left the witness stand. “Your story doesn’t add up.”

This was Watkins’ ninth conviction, Heimann said. Eleven separate petitions had been filed to revoke Watkins’ probation, the judge said.

Watkins was on probation at the time he sold the meth, Heimann said.

When Watkins said he has three medical appointments weekly for a variety of health problems, the judge said he could find no mitigating circumstances that might have reduced the sentence.

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