Dowagiac man sentenced to prison on drug, gun charges

Published 2:23 pm Friday, June 28, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

 CASSOPOLIS – A Dowagiac man charged in two separate incidents involving drugs and guns was sentenced to prison Friday in Cass County Circuit Court.

     Mark Keith Hall, 55, of Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine, possession of ammunition by a felon and maintaining a drug house-all as a habitual offender and was sentenced to 48 months to 20 years in prison on the meth charge and credit for time served, 54 days, on the other two charges. He must pay $2,184 in fines and costs.

     That incident occurred May 4, 2023 in Dowagiac. A search warrant of his home found drug paraphernalia, a shotgun, baggies, meth and $2,700 in cash.

     In the other case, he pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine and was sentenced to a concurrent prison term of 23 months to 10 years in prison with credit for 54 days served. He must pay $698 in fines in costs in that case.

     The incident occurred April 18 also in Dowagiac. In that instance, Van Buren County officials contacted Cass County officials for assistance in apprehending Hall. He was found outside his home with a meth pipe, meth residue, a gun and ammunition.

     Hall is already in prison after being sentenced earlier this month in Van Buren County to 19 months to 10 years in prison for possession of methamphetamine. He had previous prison sentences from Van Buren County convictions dating back to 1997.

     Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz noted that Hall’s past record included 10 felony and 21 misdemeanor convictions. “He is an actual drug dealer, he had meth on him above amounts just for personal use,” he said. “… The community doesn’t want meth dealers around.”

     Defense attorney Nicholas Hogue said Hall has had a lifelong problem with substance abuse issues but has had periods of sobriety. “He does have the ability to abstain from drugs and alcohol but he has to dig down to maintain his ability to keep away from drugs,” he said.

     Hogue noted that Hall’s drug use has damaged his heart and he now has a pacemaker and not given many years to live. “What he has done to his own body is a more serious sentence,” he said. “… I agree that the community doesn’t want drugs in the community but he’s part of the community and can’t turn their back on him.”

     Hall said that he had his own successful business until starting to use more drugs in the last few years. “I’m now living in a wheelchair in a jail cell, I have a lot of incentives to get out and stay clean,” he said. “If I get out of prison before my dad dies, I can reclaim my inheritance. I have a lot of incentives to get out and stay clean and get my inheritance back.”

     Cass County Circuit Court Judge Mark Herman noted that Hall has spent 13 to 14 years in prison, almost all for drugs. He asked why Hall now claims that sitting in prison has made him realize all he’s lost after he had sat in prison before and hadn’t learned that lesson.

     “When you say you learned a lot, I don’t know how you didn’t learn those lessons in the past,” the judge said. ‘You appear to be a really slow learner. Meth does you no favors. You’ve been involved in the system enough times to know the consequences. You have to make up your own mind when you’re ready or you will keep going back.”