PHS student indicted on charge of selling marijuana
by Sheldon Compton
PRESTONSBURG A Prestonsburg High School student pleaded innocent to charges of trafficking marijuana in an alley across from his school last month.
Warren Blackburn, 18, of Prestonsburg, was in Floyd District Court Wednesday morning to both enter his plea and also to hear a motion from Floyd County Attorney Keith Bartley to see the teens bond adjusted.
Blackburn had been jailed on a $500 cash bond after his arrest on Jan. 19, which Bartley said the Prestonsburg student quickly made.
In his motion Wednesday, Bartley said the amount was woefully insufficient based upon not only the defendants admitted criminal acts, but also based upon the fact that the defendant is a potential flight risk.
Bartley asked presiding Judge Danny P. Caudill to raise Blackburns bond to $25,000 cash. However, Caudill did not set the bond at that amount, electing instead to adjust it to $15,000 or 10 percent of that amount at $1,500.
Wednesday afternoon a meeting was held at Prestonsburg High School after which Blackburn was placed on notice and given a 10-day suspension with the intent to expel him following additional hearings at the school, Bartley said.
If Blackburn, who is accused of selling marijuana to fellow students at the school at young as 13, is ultimately expelled, Caudill said a condition of his release if bond is posted would be that he not be allowed within 500 of feet of Prestonsburg High School or any other school. If not, he would be allowed to continue attending his current high school but would be required to stay at least 500 feet away from any other school.
Im reporting this to the judge today, Bartley said Thursday. It was my impression that he wanted to know the results of that meeting in order to make a decision that he not be within 500 feet of a school anywhere at all. Maybe he can get a GED. I dont know.
Bartley called the idea of allowing Blackburn to stay at the school ridiculous and said he did not expect that would be the case.
Hes given a confession to police, Bartley said. He outlined an entire history of drug dealing in that school. Why they would ever allow him to go to school there ever is beyond me. Thats where his customers are.
Blackburn gave several points as to why Blackburn should be considered a flight risk, or capable of leaving the county while out of jail on bond. Among those was the fact that the chances were high that he would be expelled from school, the teen had already been served on eviction notice at the apartment where he and his mother live and, at 18, he owns no property in Floyd County.
Even while Blackburn was in district court Wednesday, a Floyd County grand jury was deliberating his case in session one floor above him in the Floyd County Justice Center.
Floyd County Commonwealths Attorney Brent Turner said he received an indictment handed down by that grand jury Wednesday afternoon on one count of trafficking marijuana in or around a school, a felony charge.
Bartley said his efforts in district court Wednesday were both a pursuit of justice and, admittedly a message to citizens and parents in Floyd County.
I want parents to know that were doing our best to protect their children in this county, said Bartley. I asked only for a bond that would fit this crime. Weve got a boy who gave a confession, who has a high likelihood of being convicted and who has been given an eviction notice and will most likely be expelled from his school. Whether 18 or 100 it makes no difference in the eyes of the law.
Now that Blackburn had been indicted on the felony charge, Turner said the 18-year-old could, if convicted, serve as much as five years in prison.
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