Dowagiac man sentenced to probation on drug, assault charges

A Dowagiac man chose probation and jail over a straight jail term after pleading guilty to drug and assault charges in court Friday.

Gene Edward Merryman, 39, of Center Street in Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to possession of meth as a habitual offender and was sentenced to two years’ probation, 210 days in jail with credit for 124 days served and $1,548 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred Dec. 20, 2020, in Dowagiac when police received a report of Merryman not having returned a vehicle to its owner. When police found Merryman and the car, they also found meth, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

He also pleaded guilty to attempted resisting and obstructing police and was sentenced to 180 days in jail with credit for 94 days served and $125 in fines and costs. That incident occurred Jan. 9 when he had an altercation with a deputy in the Cass County Jail.

Judge Herman noted that Merryman has already spent nine years of his life behind bars in either jail or prison.

“You’ve asked for probation, I hope you’re serious about it,” the judge said. “Last year you weren’t. You spent five months on probation and ended up having issues. You’re looking at a prison sentence here if you don’t take your probation seriously.”

Defense attorney Robert Drake said Merryman believes he can start dealing with his drug addiction with treatment.

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