The first of three charged with selling methamphetamines has been convicted.
Lyle Schoolfield was convicted on one charge of selling methamphetamines and five other charges for possession of methamphetamines, cocaine, marijuana and hallucinating mushrooms and a misdemeanor paraphernalia charge. Schoolfield was acquitted on a second selling charge.
The trial for co-defendant Mike Williams is set to begin later this month and a trial for co-defendant Vanessa Whelchel is scheduled for January 2009.
Ray County deputies Rich Myers and Pete Castilleja testified that an investigation began on the Williams residence in rural Ray County off of 118th Street and Christmas Tree Farm Road back in January. Both deputies testified that the initial investigation started with just driving by the property to gauge who was frequenting the property and who was not.
They then testified that the investigation began to step up in February with regular surveillance of the property.
The state’s main witness in the case is Leslie Pugh, a confidential informant that the Ray County Sheriff’s Department used to help culminate the investigation, who approached Ray County deputies about possibly working as an informant in exchange for the dropping several felony charges for forgery, leaving the scene of an accident and property damage. Pugh did have to pay restitution.
Pugh and the deputies testified that twice she was searched and then given $100 to purchase speed on March 22 and March 25.
Pugh testified that the first time she went to the house, Schoolfield stood in the doorway while the sale was in progress and made some intimidating remarks about a radio jamming device used to detect bugs on people. Pugh said Schoolfield said, “That’s music to my ears,” referring to the sound of the device indicating that Pugh was not wired.
Pugh did take a recording device the second time but the audio was not good quality. During the second purchase, Pugh testified that Schoolfield stayed in the other room while the transaction took place.
Schoolfield’s attorney, Daniel Steven Hobart, tried to discredit Pugh. Pugh testified that she had used methamphetamines in the past. Furthermore, both deputies testified that Pugh was never drug tested. Pugh also claimed that she never smoked any speed when offered to her during the first sale.
The state’s second piece of evidence against Schoolfield were items recovered from a raid on the Williams residence on April 8. The deputies testified that jeans containing digital scales and a wallet containing Schoolfield’s ID was found near him as well as a boot filled with $5,400 in cash and some baggies with drug residue. Also near the jeans was a yellow flashlight containing about 100 empty bags used for packaging marijuana, mushrooms, methamphetamines and cocaine. Schoolfield also had $700 in his wallet.
Castilleja testified that they knew the drugs would be in the flashlight because Pugh had told them that was where Williams pulled the drugs out of each time she went to make a purchase.
The deputies also found some glass pipes and a burning propane torch on the coffee table.
The deputies waited for Williams to leave for a court appearance before raiding the residence. Whelchel was also at the residence at the time of the raid.
Hobart tried to discredit the state’s testimony by saying that Schoolfield didn’t actually live on the property, and that he frequented the house because he and Williams worked together as scrappers.
Schoolfield will have a sentencing assessment and is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 30, 2009. Hobart indicated that he might seek a new trial or appeal the decision.