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After turning down the possibility of a two-year probation sentence, a Campbellsville man may face 20 years in prison for selling drugs.
Danny Dale Burress, 49, of 4450 Speck Ridge Road faced a jury last Wednesday in Taylor Circuit Court Judge Doughlas M. George's courtroom.
Burress had been indicted in 2004 on charges of second-degree selling hydrocodone, his second offense, and being a second-degree persistent felony offender.
According to court records, Burress was accused of selling hydrocodone pills to a confidential informant used by local law enforcement.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney John Miller, the prosecutor in the case, said Burress' case has been ongoing since 2004.
Miller said Burress had been offered a plea agreement amending the charge of second-degree selling hydrocodone - which is a Class C felony punishable by five to 10 years in prison - to a misdemeanor offense.
Because the offense was Burress' second and he was charged with being a persistent felony offender, the sentence a jury could recommend was enhanced.
Miller said the plea agreement stated that Burress would have received two years' probation in exchange for a guilty plea to the misdemeanor offense. He said the plea agreement would have included no jail time.
After finding Burress guilty, the jury recommended that he be sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Miller said he was pleased with the jury's verdict.
"I think it sent a message to the community that drug trafficking won't be tolerated in Campbellsville and Taylor County," Miller said. "And I think that's the right message to send."
Miller said that a judge does not have to agree with a jury's recommended sentence. However, he said, local judges have historically gone along with jury recommendations.
He said he thinks that George will likely sentence Burress to 20 years in prison. If so, Miller said, Burress will have to serve at least 20 percent - or four years - of the 20-year sentence before he can become eligible for parole.
This wasn't the first time Burress has faced a jury on the charges against him.
Burress' case originally went to trial in April. However, the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict, and George declared a mistrial.
Miller said he believes the jurors who served at Burress' first trial helped the court system by sticking to their opinions and not acquitting him. He said Burress might not have been convicted if his first trial had not ended in a mistrial.
Local attorney Tim Berry Falls represented Burress. He declined to comment.
Burress will appear in Taylor Circuit Court again on Dec. 18 for sentencing.
- Staff Writer Calen McKinney can be reached at 465-8111 Ext. 235 or by e-mail at email@example.com.