Cass County sentencings dominated by drug cases Friday

Published 2:11 pm Friday, October 8, 2021

CASSOPOLIS — No one’s life gets better with illegal drugs. That was the message Friday during felony sentencings in Cass County Circuit Court.

“It’s a broken record here today,” Cass Circuit Judge Mark Herman said. “I find it so hard when I see that people use drugs when they have young children. Statistics show that if you’re using drugs, your kids will end up using drugs.”

“I see it every week in here. I’ve never seen anyone’s life get better with meth,” Judge Herman said at another point in the proceedings.

All but one of the seven people sentenced Friday were convicted of drug related offenses. Most got probation, but one person received a prison term and another a year in jail.

Jack Larue Blackamore, 45, of Miller Street in Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to delivery/manufacture of cocaine as a habitual offender and was sentenced to 19 months to 40 years in prison. He has credit for 64 days already served and must pay $2,048 in fines and costs.

He also pleaded guilty to violating his probation from a 2018 possession of cocaine sentence and was given a concurrent prison term of 19 months to 15 years. He has credit for 86 days served in that case.

The most recent incident occurred July 1 at Blackamore’s home in Dowagiac where police found cocaine.

“In the 2018 case, the court gave you probation because you were working and supporting your daughter,” the judge said. “It looks like on paper that you cared more about crack than your daughter. I hope you’re serious about changing your life. If you come back again, it will be real obvious to me that your daughter is not your priority.”

“This has been a learning experience,” Blackamore said. “My life needed to slow down. Although it’s really bad for me right now, it was time for me to stop doing a lot of stuff. I have been able to get my priorities straight. I just want to pay my debt to society and come out and prosper in a positive way.”

Also Friday, Eddie Max Weiser, 35, of Pennsylvania Avenue in Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to possession of meth as a habitual offender and was sentenced to 365 days in jail with credit for 128 days served. He must pay $2,048 in fines and costs. 

The incident occurred April 15 in Dowagiac. Weiser was also sentenced on a probation violation and had his probation revoked from a 2019 meth case. He was sentenced Friday to a concurrent 365 days in jail with credit for 170 days served.

“In June 2019, you begged me for a probation program, that you would have your son come live with you,” Judge Herman said. “I gave you the Adult Treatment Court program, but it looks to me like you never really wanted to get off meth. You just wanted to avoid prison.”

“If I see you back in here for using meth, I will not accept a plea agreement that doesn’t call for prison,” he added. “I will accept this one, but not again. The next time is strike three. Prison is looking you right in the eyes, you’re getting a good break here today.”

In other sentencings Friday:

Katie Barbour, 68, of Union, pleaded guilty to lying to police and was sentenced to one-year probation, credit for one day served and $2,118 in fines and costs. The incident occurred Sept. 28, 2018, when she lied to police about the whereabouts of her son who was involved in a crime.

Nicole Ann Ducey, 35, of Oak Street in Edwardsburg, pleaded guilty to breaking and entering a building with intent to commit larceny and possession of meth and was sentenced to two years’ probation in the Adult Treatment Court, completion of the Twin County probation program, credit for 107 days already served, $3,026 in fines and costs and $3,102.64 in restitution. The breaking and entering incident involved breaking into a barn and stealing a golf cart on May 10 near Cassopolis. The meth incident occurred June 23
in Edwardsburg.

Marta Lynnette Dynes, 34, of Rose Drive in Niles, pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of meth and one count of use of meth and was sentenced to three years’ probation, credit for 31 days in jail, and $2,936 in fines and costs. She can have one felony reduced to a misdemeanor if she is successful on probation. The incidents occurred during a traffic stop April 7 in Howard Township and on June 16 at Dynes’ home.

Jessie Stanley Stanford, 22, of Osborn Street in Cassopolis, pleaded guilty to possession of meth, possession of cocaine and attempted resisting and obstructing police and was sentenced to three years’ probation in the Adult Treatment Court, completion of the Twin County probation program, credit for 65 days served, $2,846 in fines and costs. The incident occurred June 9 in Edwardsburg. He also had his probation revoked from a 2020 possession of meth sentence and was given credit for 91 days served.

Heather Renee Taylor, 37, of Ligonier, Indiana, pleaded guilty to possession of meth and was sentenced to two years’ probation, credit for five days served and $2,328 in fines and costs. She can keep the felony off her record if she is successful on probation. The incident occurred April 14 in Edwardsburg.