Buchanan man sentenced to probation for drug possession

Published 1:01 pm Monday, March 6, 2023

NILES — A Buchanan man who has lost loved ones to drug overdoses has the chance to break his own drug addiction after being sentenced Monday in Berrien County Trial Court. 

William Charles Marshall, 36, of Buchanan, pleaded guilty to possession of narcotics/cocaine less than 25 grams and was sentenced to three years probation in the Drug Court program, completion of the Tri-Cap treatment program, 90 days in jail with credit for 67 days served and $598 in fines and costs. 

The incident occurred Sept. 15 in Buchanan. 

Marshall also pleaded guilty to violating his probation from a July 19, 2021 sentence for attempted larceny in a building. He was sentenced to credit for 102 days in jail and had his probation revoked in that case. 

His past record includes not only the 2021 conviction but also a June 15, 2016 sentence for breaking and entering a building where he served a 16 month prison sentence. 

Berrien County Assistant Prosecutor Kate Arnold noted that Marshall has struggled to comply with past probation sentences. She said that Marshall’s felony probation officer believes he could be successful in a drug court probation program. 

“He’s at the end of the line with his record,” Arnold said. “He’s been to prison once and four times on probation. I’m not confident he will succeed but drug court could give him a final chance to turn his life around.” 

Defense attorney Shayne Williams also asked for the drug court probation sentence. 

“His probation officer is hopeful and he has been accepted into drug court,” she said. “He did complete the Twin County program twice and he has the support of his family.” 

Marshall acknowledged his past record. 

“I’ve been to prison and in and out of jail,” he said. “I have three kids and I’ve screwed up.” 

He said he wants to change after seeing two cousins and others die of drug overdoses. “I’d like the chance of probation,” he said. “There are more drugs available in prison than here.” 

Berrien County Trial Court Judge Jennifer Smith said that probation wouldn’t normally be the recommendation in a case like Marshall’s where his prior record is so extensive.

“This is the end of the road when it comes to chances,” she said. “You can’t expect probation the next time.” 

“You need to get help, both for your own safety to not overdose and to be there for your children,” she added. “I hope you are true to your word that you want to change your life. We will give you this opportunity but there will not be an endless string of opportunities. If you continue to violate, you will end up in prison.”