New drug charges send convicted shooter back to prison

Staff Writer

A 28-year-old West Point man who shot at another man, shot into a car and fled from police almost seven years ago is headed back to prison. And could face more time for new drug arrests.

Clay County Circuit Court Judge Lee Howard ordered to serve five years in prison for violating his probation from his July 2012 conviction for aggravated assault. He originally was sentenced to eight years in prison and five years post-release supervision in that case.

He was released on July 29, 2017.

In April, he tested positive for marijuana, cocaine and meth and was referred to a drug and alcohol treatment coordinator.

He tested positive for the same drugs on Sept. 5, 2018.

On Sept. 23 following a traffic stop in West Point, he was arrested by the Mississippi Highway Patrol for possession of cocaine, ecstasy, and marijuana, as well as no driver’s license or insurance.

In 2012, he pleaded guilty in connection with incidents in November and December 2011 where he shot at Donovan Sandifer, shot into a a car occupied by Ebony Moye, fled from police officer Willie Swain, and was caught in possession of more than an ounce of marijuana.

In an unrelated case in Clay County Circuit Court, a 28-year-old West Point man given a chance to kick his drug addiction through treatment is headed back to prison for at least four years.

During a hearing Friday, ChristopherBell’s probation was revoked and he he was sentenced to serve four years. The decision was based on the fact he was given a four-year suspended sentence two years ago after being given a chance to complete drug and alcohol treatment.

In the last year, he’s collected several new charges.

In August, a search of a West Point apartment led to 10 grams of cocaine and Bell’s arrest.

That was the latest in a history that started when he was charged with possession of synthetic marijuana following a May 29, 2014 incident. He was indicted by the Clay County Grand Jury in October 2014, according to Clay County Circuit Court records.

After that arrest, he is accused of selling cocaine to an undercover agent on July 31, 2014, but he wasn't indicted on that case until April 2015.

On Oct. 13, 2015, he pleaded guilty to the cocaine sale charge and the other case was retired. He was ordered to undergo long-term drug and alcohol treatment and Judge Lee Howard kept control of the case, court records show.

Bell completed that treatment on Aug. 19, 2016, according to Department of Corrections records, and on Sept. 27, 2016, the judge re-sentenced him to four years probation.

In April 2018, he was indicted on four new counts of selling cocaine. But he wasn't located until the August raid.

In addition to his probation revocation, he still faces court action those other cases.

In another old drug-related case, Judge Howard gave a Clay County man a glimmer of hope of avoiding significant prison time if he can successfully complete a drug treatment program.

Prosecutors recommended that post-release supervision for Jamonie Lawuan Tillman be revoked from a case dating back 11 years. In the last year, Tillman has tested positive twice for marijuana and he’s been arrested on new charges in Chickasaw County.

His attorney, Public Defender Marc Stewart urged the judge not to send him away for five years, arguing he had been employed and was paying child support before being arrested in July in Chickasaw County for DUI, bringing marijuana into a jail and other charges.

As a compromise, Howard sent Tillman to the state’s intensive drug and alcohol treatment program and maintained control of the case. If Tillman completes the treatment, the judge might release him, but he still must deal with the Chickasaw County charges.

Tillman originally was charged with selling cocaine stemming from an incident on Aug. 19, 2004. He was indicted in October 2005 and pleaded guilty on April 10, 2007. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and five years post-release supervision.

Because of his inability to stay off drugs and pay all his fines and court costs, he’s been unable to flatten out the sentence, keeping the sanctions hanging over his head.