Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dempsey Word: 16 years 8 Months Plus Probation

 Peters, the prosecutor, hinted heavily at the unserved time during Trice’s hearing as well as the lengthy criminal history of Word, the other defendant sentenced Wednesday.
    “This is a situation where the defendant’s criminal history shows a repeated pattern of getting into trouble, 
getting out and then back into trouble,” the prosecutor said of Word.
    Word’s criminal history stretches back at least 20 years to two felony charges of burglary and theft of property, for which he was sentenced to state prison. He’s been in and out of custody since, racking up parole revocations and several state drug charges in Phillips County, Correction Department and court records show.
    In the federal case, Word had pleaded guilty Jan. 19 to a charge of conspiracy to possess cocaine and other controlled substances with intent to distribute. The plea was part of an agreement with federal prosecutors, who dropped two additional charges against him in exchange. 

    During Word’s hearing, his attorney, Jason Files, objected to his client being sentenced under federal guidelines concerning “career offenders,” a label that increases a person’s potential sentence.
    Files argued that Word’s convictions for commercial burglary and theft from 1992 occurred outside the 15-year span in the career-offender 
    In response, prosecutors called Eric Myrene of the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services System, who prepared Word’s presentence report.
    Myrene testif ied that Word’s parole revocation in 1996 concerned the charges from four years earlier in addition to others, meaning the charges would fall within 15 years of January 2010 — the month the Delta Blues investigation began.
    Moody ruled in favor of the U.S. attorneys. He then moved on to formal sentencing, during which Word apologized for his crimes.
    “I want to say I’m sorry to the court, and I’m sorry to my family,” said Word, gesturing toward his mother, Mary Wright. 

    Wright had earlier asked Moody for leniency because of Word’s upbringing.
    “I was too busy and into myself to be there for them,” Wright said, noting she was a recovering drug addict. “I wasn’t a mother to them, and they resented me for it, and I resented myself. They needed a mother to tell them right and wrong ... and I wasn’t there.”
    Moody sentenced Word to 16 years and eight months in federal prison to be followed by four years of supervised release.
Information for this article was contributed by Cathy Frye of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.



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