Judge warns woman it's her last chance

Staff Writer

A Clay County Circuit Court judge warns a 27-year-old woman she is getting her last opportunity to avoid prison.

"There should never be another time because if there is, you need to bring your suit case and your toothbrush. You understand what I'm saying?" Circuit Judge Lee Coleman told Shanikqua Douglas after giving her a three-year suspended sentence Tuesday on the reduced charge of mayhem.

Douglas was arrested for breaking a beer bottle and using it to slash Ariel Coleman during a fight in Pheba on June 4, 2014. She originally was charged with aggravated assault but in July 2016, the charge was reduced to mayhem and Douglas was placed on pre-trial diversion.

But last October, she was kicked out of that alternative-sentencing program for failing drug tests. She was scheduled for trial today, but pleaded guilty instead.

Assistant District Attorney Marc Amos told Judge Howard Douglas benefitted from the victim's mercy.

"The victim has been very much involved in this sentence. She did not want her to go to jail. The victim is extremely nice and forgiving," Amos said during Tuesday's plea hearing.

Douglas dropped out of high school but obtained her GED and completed a few months of college work in nursing. She promised the judge she wouldn't be back.

In other action, drug-related cases took up most of the time Tuesday in Clay County Circuit Court, including a man who was on parole from a previous prison sentence when he was arrested again in January for possession of cocaine.

Tyrus Gandy, 37, was sentenced to a total of 11 years on the new charge and the revocation of a 2010 sentence.

Gandy, whose court records indicate he is a member of the Gangster Disciples gang, was arrested by West Point Police Jan. 22 on cocaine charges. During Tuesday's plea hearing, Judge Howard sentenced him to eight years, with two suspended, on that charge. The judge also ordered a $500 fine.

Because of the new conviction, the judge revoked his post-release supervision from a 2010 drug conviction. In that case, he was sentenced to 17 years, with five suspended and 12 to serve plus the post-release time.

The five years runs consecutive to the new six-year term.

The 2010 sentence stemmed from his Dec. 8, 2008, arrest with more than 10 grams of cocaine. That came on top of a 2008 cocaine sentence, according to Clay County Circuit Court records.

Once released, Gandy, who says in court records he's smoked marijuana regularly since he was 17, will serve two more years on post-release supervision. Despite the two prior felony convictions, Gandy's new sentences were not done under the state's habitual offender rules, which would have increased the percentage of time he would have to serve before being eligible for parole.

In an unrelated case, 34-year-old Herman McGee III pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property and admitted that on May 11-12, 2014, he and a friend were doing drugs together and ended up with a Fender electric base guitar and a Peavey amplifier stolen from the West Point Apostolic Church.

McGee pawned the items, which were valued at more than $1,000, at a West Point business for $100. The items were recovered by police and returned to the church.

He originally was charged with burglary. McGee faced as much as five years on the stolen property charge.

Although he has prior felony convictions, he was not sentenced as a habitual offender as part of the plea agreement. Habitual status would mean he has to serve a higher percentage of his sentence.
He's been in jail since Jan. 11 after he was picked up for failing to show up for a previous court date.

In an unrelated case, Sharod Miller was sentenced to two years in prison for possession of methamphetamine. The charge stemmed from his arrest on March 24, 2016. Charges of felony fleeing and possession of cocaine were retired as part of the plea agreement.

Miller also was not sentenced as a habitual offender despite a previous conviction of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.