Cassopolis man resentenced to prison for operating a drug house

Published 6:30 pm Friday, September 22, 2023

CASSOPOLIS — A Cassopolis man serving prison time was resentenced Friday in Cass County Circuit Court.

Ryan Ray Deweerd, 39, of Cassopolis, was in court Friday for resentencing after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that his guidelines were improperly scored in a previous 2018 sentencing. The new scoring calls for a minimum sentence of 72 months rather than 78 months in prison.

Deweerd is charged with operating/maintaining a drug lab involving meth and maintaining a drug house, both as a habitual offender, and was sentenced Friday to concurrent terms of 96 months to 40 years and 34 months to 15 year in prison. He has credit for 2,167 days already served.

The incident occurred March 4, 2016 at a residence on North O’Keefe Street in Cassopolis.

Michael Waldo, Deweerd’s attorney, asked for a sentence at the bottom of the guidelines. He said that while Deweerd has received 25 misconduct “tickets” while in prison, many were minor and not substantive. He said Deweerd has completed substance abuse treatment and is making changes in his life.

Deweerd said he has wasted a big part of his life. “I’ve been using my learning disability as an excuse not to do better,” he said. “I have a great support system with my family and pastor. I want to be a better man for my community … I let my addiction get the best of me.”

Cass County Circuit Judge Mark Herman had a different take on the case. He noted that he had originally sentenced Deweerd to probation and only sent him to prison after he violated his probation. Judge Herman said he had hoped Deweerd cd have broken the cycle of addition that has also affected his brother and father.

“I’m seeing a short term progress but the goal of sentencing is to make sure you are rehabilitated,” the judge said. “One thing that concerns me is that you plan to live with your grandparents and will be just a stone’s throw away from your father and brother … To me, the best way for rehabilitation is for you to remain in prison.”