Derrious Carter was convicted last week of possession of cocaine after a jury trial that ended on December 5. The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Jasmine Kelley and Judge Andy Spivey presided over the proceedings.
The jury heard evidence that Carter, who had warrants for his arrest, was located at a residence in February 2016. Douglas police officers determined that Carter was hiding in the attic of the residence. After multiple commands to come down went unheeded, officers sprayed pepper spray into the attic. Carter then fell through the ceiling into a bedroom where officers immediately arrested him.
Upon searching him, officers pulled a quantity of cocaine out of his pocket. The cocaine was sent to the GBI Crime Lab where it was confirmed to be cocaine weighing over six grams.
Carter himself testified and admitted that he had cocaine in his pocket, but argued that it wasn't anywhere near the amount the State said it was, as he had only purchased $100 worth. Carter also admitted to the jury that he had previously been convicted of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute (twice), and sale of cocaine.
The jury acquitted Carter of possession of cocaine greater than four grams (which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years) but convicted him of possession of cocaine less than four grams (carrying only a maximum of three years).
Sentencing was held the next day. Judge Spivey heard additional evidence that after being released on bond for this drug charge, Carter once again became a wanted man, failing to appear for court and absconding for nearly five months. Judge Spivey then revoked the entirety of Carter's probation (which he was still on for one of his previous charges), roughly eight years, then sentenced Carter to three years to serve, consecutive to his probation revocation (for a total of approximately 11 years).
District Attorney George Barnhill stated, "Apparently the defendant's testimony and his attorney's cross examination of our officers was enough that the jury believed there to be reasonable doubt about the amount of cocaine that was pulled from the defendant. We respect the verdict of the jury." Mr. Barnhill also thanks the work of Investigator Jack Cliett, the City of the Douglas Police Department, and the Coffee County Drug Unit for their work in bringing this case to justice.