Prison rejects drug dealer
By PRESTON GILL
FRANKLIN — A Morgan City man was turned away from the prison when he was late in showing up to begin a three-year prison term for marijuana distribution scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. Sept. 23 and the judge who sentenced him has ordered him arrested.
In sentencing Dontrell Carter, 39, 16th Judicial District Judge Edward Leonard Jr. said seven years of Carter’s 10-year sentence was suspended. As part of the Sept. 9 plea deal, Leonard allowed Carter two weeks free before the beginning of his sentence. The judge emphasized to Carter a failure to arrive would have consequences.
“If you fail to turn yourself in when you are required … then you subject yourself to whatever punishment comes your way under the law,” Leonard warned.
After the judge’s comments, Carter’s public defender, Gary LeGros Jr., said, “Dontrell, if you don’t show up, all bets are off and they can sentence you to whatever they want to sentence you.”
Leonard said Carter can turn himself in at any point. If Carter turns himself in, or if he is arrested, he will be brought to Leonard, who said he will hear all the circumstances and determine the extent of the consequences and if the plea agreement remains in force.
LeGros said his client showed up at the St. Mary Correction Center in Centerville between 5:15 and 5:30 p.m. Sept 23 and he is attempting to get his client to turn himself in again.
“The jail thought he was supposed to be turned away since he did not show up by a certain time,” LeGros said. He called it a mistake to have not taken Carter into custody. It would have been better if the jail had accepted him and then explained to the judge the defendant was late, he said.
Sheriff spokesperson Traci Landry said the prison was taking in drug court offenders on Sept. 23. Those offenders must be on time and that may have led to some confusion on the part of the jailer as to whether or not to accept a late-arriving Carter, she said
“He arrived after the time on the order but we could have taken him in,” Landry said. She said that as of this morning, Carter is still not in the prison.
“Our officers on the street are aware of this and we are working with his attorney to get him to turn himself in,” Landry said.
Leonard said he usually remands a defendant into custody upon conviction, but made an exception upon the joint request of the defense and prosecuting attorneys as part of the plea arrangement.
Carter’s guilty plea stems from when he and a woman were arrested on Oct. 17 by Morgan City police. The police executed a “no knock” search at the pair’s First Street residence and found three plastic bags of suspected marijuana and a scale with residue of marijuana on it, the arrest report said.
Carter told police he had been selling marijuana for months, selling about a half pound a week and making about $600 weekly to supplement his income in order to pay child support and taxes he owes to the IRS, the report said.
Shakettia Franklin, 29, was arrested along with Carter. She said she “knew nothing about the illegal selling of narcotics out of the residence … all she wanted to do was get booked and go home,” the report said.
Franklin would sell the drugs while Carter was at work at Conrads Shipyard, but when he returned home he had control of the marijuana selling, Carter, who said the two are engaged to be married, told police.
Assistant District Attorney Anthony Saleme said Franklin was not prosecuted as part of the plea agreement with Carter.