mixed bag for defendant who skipped last day of trial
a jury heard testimony and saw evidence they came to the conclusion
that a Ripley County man was not guilty on the charge of Manufacturing
Methamphetamine, a Class B Felony; but that he was guilty of Conspiracy
to Manufacture Methamphetamine, also a Class B Felony. They couldnt
all come to the same conclusion on the two other charges, Neglect
of a Dependent and Possession of a Controlled Substance, both
Class D Felonies, resulting in a hung jury.
Jason Daugherty, 33, of Versailles, was charged with the above
crime in Ripley County Circuit Court, where his trial was held
Although Prosecutor Ric Hertel would have liked to have heard
guilty on all charges, he told the Osgood Journal he understood
the jurors decisions. It was certainly a mixed bag,
he said of the four verdicts the jury rendered.
The guilty charge can get the defendant as much time as all four
charges put together. He could receive from 6-20 years in prison,
which is as much as he could have received, since the charges
would have run concurrently.
However, theres another twist to the trial. Daugherty didnt
show up for the last day of court on Thursday, September 30.
Theres a warrant out for his arrest, Prosecutor
Hertel noted, saying the Indiana State Police are actively looking
Its standard for the defendant to be present when the sentencing
is given, so until Daugherty is located, a sentencing hearing
has not been scheduled.
The charges stemmed from an arrest made more than two years ago.
On May 30, 2008, police responded to a welfare check on a child
at 5334 S. County Road 400 W. When they arrived, they found much
more than they had bargained for.
First of all, they found Daugherty and another suspect, who were
wanted on charges from another county. Daugherty was wanted at
that time for a probation violation out of Jennings County.
Then police began to realize there were several items that were
consistent with cooking methamhetamine. Sgt. Terry Nickell of
the Indiana State Police, who initially responded, testified that
there were several burn piles, and many items that were used in
The 29-year veteran of the Indiana State Police, told the jurors
that he obtained consent to search the garage where he found altered
fittings on a gas tank. That, along with many other items related
to cooking meth were found.
The prosecutor told the jurors in opening statement that some
of the witnesses also played a role in the illegal activity. They
included Jamie Copeland, who has agreed to plead guilty to possession
of meth at a hearing scheduled in November. Also, Crystal Durham,
has pled guilty to possession of meth and is now on probation.
Defense attorney William (Bill) Dillon from North Vernon, argued
that the woman was as guilty as his client, or more so, since
he said there were no fingerprints of Daughertys on the
Dillon said Daugherty hadnt lived at that address for more
than a month and who knows how long the burn piles had been there?
Jurors heard part of a letter Daugherty had written saying hes
been learning new ways to cook and when hes out, hes
going to have a cook-off. Words the prosecutor says are definitely
connected to making meth.
Daugherty is a convicted felon on prior drug related charges,
has pending charges for Manufacturing Meth in Jennings County,
and will face sentencing in Ripley County as soon as he is located,
according to the prosecutor.