A Hettinger man was found guilty on four of five charges in Southwest District Court during a four-day jury trial in Hettinger.
By COLE BENZ
Richard Scott Howe, 65, was originally charged with seven felonies and a misdemeanor. He plead not guilt in May of 2015, according to court records. On May 14, 2015, however, three of the initial felony charges—possession of cocaine, psilocybin mushrooms and possession of related paraphernalia—were dismissed without prejudice.
After his charges were amended, Howe eventually was brought to trial on five charges including possession of a controlled substance (morphine) a Class B felony, possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture (butane hash oil) a Class A felony, possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture (marijuana) a Class A felony, possession of drug paraphernalia (butane hash oil) a Class C felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia (marijuana) a Class A misdemeanor. The charges were enhanced because of the presence of weapons at the scene, according to Adams County State’s Attorney Aaron Roseland. At the scene, law enforcement recovered three rifles, two shotguns, and one handgun, all of which were loaded. According to NDCC 19-03.1-23.1 (1d), presence of firearms is an aggravating factor in drug cases.
Howe was found guilty on counts two, three, four, and five. He was found not guilty on count one.
The trial began on Tuesday, June 7 at 9 a.m. and finished on Friday, June 10 when the verdict was read. The verdict was announced at 5:30 p.m., after about 2 1/2 hours of jury deliberation, according to Roseland.
Roseland told The Record that sentencing has not yet been scheduled, but that it would take place in about 90 days.
Howe faces a maximum of 46 years imprisonment, a $25,000 fine, or both.
Howe’s condition of release that were set while his trial was pending were reinstated, so he has not been detained while awaiting sentencing.