Man found guilty on drug charges
Judge Hamilton Singleton sentenced an area defendant to a total of 76 years in prison after jurors agreed he traffi cked a sizable quantity of drugs from a home at 2408 Nevada Street.
Johnny Frank Evans, 31, was found guilty and sentenced shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday on the following charges: Possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, for which he was sentenced to 28 years in prison and received a fi ne of $5,000, and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, maintaining a drug premises, possession of a controlled substance (Xanax) with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia, for which he received 12 years in prison on each count.
Jurors acquitted Evans on two counts of possessing fi rearms and one count of possessing Ecstasy.
"I tried your brother’s case (Lavelle Evans) as well and I know what they gave him," Singleton told the defendant at the end of the two-day trial, as he handed down his decision to stack sentencing for a total of 76 years.
Under Arkansas Law, Evans was subject to an enhanced prison term due to habitual offender status. He has four previous felony drug convictions.
The most serious charge Evans faced, possession of meth with intent to deliver, is punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than 10, nor more than 80 years, or life, and a fi ne not to exceed $25,000.
Evans’ attorney, Ron Davis of Little Rock, who issued a fl urry of objections throughout the trial, said he intends to appeal the decision.
His client showed little reaction to the jury’s guilty verdict or the lengthy prison term. Davis had urged jurors to "tender justice with mercy" during the sentencing phase of the trial, and was backed with pleas of leniency from the defendant’s mother, who described her deteriorating condition since being diagnosed with cervical cancer.
"We all feel bad for Ms. Evans, but where does the responsibility fall?" said Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Rogers.
Rogers turned to face Shirley Evans and said, "It’s not your fault ma’am," then turned back to the jury and said, "He’s the one that determined to take this course and now you need to tell him he’s messed up for the last time."
The state’s case hinged on whether jurors would fi nd credible the testimony of Felicia Evans, 23, who is legally married but separated from Johnny Frank Evans. She testifi ed she had known the defendant since she was 14 years old and quickly developed an intimate relationship with him.
Felicia Evans went on to say that, although she was not actively dealing drugs at the time investigators executed a warrant on the home in February 2005, she was fully aware of the drug activity going on there.
Felicia Evans described the lavish lifestyle afforded by her husband’s extensive dealing and admitted she decided to testify after Dallas detectives delivered the news that her sister, Crystal Jenkins, was found murdered in the days leading up to the trial of Lavelle Evans, the younger brother of Johnny Frank Evans.
Jurors sentenced Lavelle Ev ans to an 80-year term in pris on last fall. Jenkins, who was also hit with drug charges fol lowing the raid on the Nevada Street residence, would’ve testifi ed for the prosecution in that case.
Authorities have issued a warrant of arrest on Lavelle Evans for the Jenkins murder. "Crystal’s helping me," said Felicia Evans.
"Helping you what?" re sponded Davis, during cross examination.
"Helping me get through all of this," she replied.
Felicia Evans admitted she had hoped to reduce her own chances of prison time for her involvement in the drug deal ing in exchange for Tuesday’s testimony against her hus band.
The testimony was corrobo rated by the state’s introduc tion of more than 40 items of evidence seized after the drug raid and which includ ed scales for weighing, more than $4,300 in cash, several pounds of marijuana, Xanax and numerous baggies fi lled with methamphetamine ready for street sale.
"This was an ongoing family business," Rogers said during closing arguments.
"You only take that kind of time and painstaking effort (to bag these items a certain way) if you are trying to maximize your return ... I submit that Johnny Frank Evans’ cloak of innocence has been unveiled," he concluded.
The defense did not call any witnesses and Johnny Frank Evans did not testify on his own behalf.
He will be eligible for parole in just under 20 years if he earns "good time" credit, ac cording to the prosecution.