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Howard sentenced to 20 years after conviction on drug charges

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By Sharon Graves

Donald Howard, 54, was sentenced Monday, June 1 by Judge Stephen Bates in circuit court to 20 years imprisonment for his conviction on four counts of first-degree trafficking in prescription drugs, all class C felonies.

On May 14, a Carroll County jury found Howard guilty on all four counts of trafficking in two drugs, namely Opana, the brand name for oxymorphone, and Oxycontin. The jury recommended 10 years incarceration on each count to run consecutively, for a total of 40 years.

“Unfortunately, under Kentucky law, the maximum jail sentence allowable in Howard’s case is 20 years,” Commonwealth Attorney James M. Crawford said in a press release concerning the sentencing.

While expressing disappointment that Kentucky law would not allow the court to impose the 40 year sentence recommended by the jury, Crawford said,  “the jury verdict sent a clear message that the public is tired of drug dealing and the misery and suffering it causes others.”  

Crawford said in the release that numerous people have contacted his office since the verdict in May and said they support what the jury had done and wanted local law enforcement to continue their efforts to combat and stop local drug use and drug trafficking.

In Howard’s May 14 trial, the jury heard evidence that prosecutors said linked his Opana 40 mg prescription to several illicit drug sales using phone records, bank statements, photos and audio recordings.

The drug sales in question began in August 2008 and culminated in Howard’s arrest Dec. 4 of the same year, according to testimony.

Howard has been lodged in the Carroll County Detention Center since his conviction and will eventually be transported to another facility for the duration of his sentence.