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Meth cook sent to jail

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By Susan Sharp

Wayne Allen McGinnis’ case lacked an easy answer.

While he didn’t appear to be a hardened criminal, the laws he broke were serious ones.

“It is a run of possibilities,” Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton said of the range of possible punishments McGinnis faced.

Earlier this year McGinnis pled guilty to possession of a schedule II controlled substance for resale and initiation of the meth manufacturing process. These facts were disclosed at Monday’s hearing. Both crimes had occurred in less than six weeks.

At his sentencing hearing, McGinnis was faced with two very extreme opposites. Either he could leave the courtroom a free man left only to report to a probation officer or he could go to prison- for nearly 20 years.

These perimeters were ones Sexton said needed consideration.

During the hearing, McGinnis took the stand saying he had been to a drug rehabilitation program and was employed when his seasonal work allowed.

McGinnis also said he was drug free.

However, when pressed by Assistant District Attorney General Scarlet Ellis, McGinnis statements changed from the ones given just moments earlier.

Under cross-examination, McGinnis admitted he didn’t complete the 90-day program, leaving half way through it. She also pointed out that while McGinnis said he lacked transportation to attend substance abuse support programs, he was still able to meet his girlfriend at her probation meetings.

“I was dropped off,” he said.

Closing her case, Ellis approached the court with two sentencing options. She first asked the court to give McGinnis eight years behind bars for each offense he pled guilty to. The second option was to place him on probation for 10 years per charge but also locking him up for a year on each crime.

Calling McGinnis “an excellent candidate for rehabilitation”, Tom Eikenberry asked the court to take another tactic with his client. He asked for leniency.

“I am not at all impressed with his commitment to rehab,” the judge said. “To leave early is incredibly wrong.”

Sitting there with his hands folded, McGinnis shook his head, which Sexton took note of.

“That is typical of someone about to go to the pen,” Sexton said of the head shaking.

After a brief recess, Sexton returned to the bench to pass sentence on McGinnis.

Sentencing him to eight years for each count, the judge said only one year of that would be spent behind bars. The balance would be spent on community corrections. After his release from jail, McGinnis will take part in an alcohol and drug assessment per the judge’s order. Sexton noted if McGinnis didn’t do well under probation, he had the right to resentence him.

“It will be 23 years if I need to go back,” Sexton said.

McGinnis will report to jail in two weeks.