PIKEVILLE, Ky. (KT) — A former Pike County man convicted in a federal drug trafficking case Tuesday shocked a federal judge when he asked for a longer prison sentence.
In U.S. District Court in Pikeville last week, Christopher E. Parsons, 35, of Left Fork, Toler, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell to serve a term of more than nine years in prison after being convicted on federal charges of possession with intent to distribute schedule II controlled substances and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Caldwell also sentenced Parsons to serve five years of supervised release after his eventual release from prison. After Caldwell handed down the sentence including the supervised release, Parsons shocked the judge by requesting to service his entire sentence — the 111-month prison term and the five years of supervised release — in prison.
“I don’t think you want to spend another five years in prison,” Caldwell said to Parsons.
Parsons responded to Caldwell that he would not be successful in completing supervised release.
“I ain’t going to make it on parole for five years,” Parsons said.
Parsons was charged with trafficking in methamphetamine and other drugs. He was arrested in November 2017 after police executed a search warrant at his wife’s residence and found him in possession of a firearm and several different types of drugs. According to statements made by the prosecution in Tuesday’s hearing, the weapon with which Parsons was found was loaded with armor-piercing ammunition.
Caldwell told Parsons following his request for a longer prison sentence that she would grant his request if she thought the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals would uphold the sentence. Instead, she stuck with her initial sentence and told Parsons she would deal with him if he commits a violation of the law after being released from prison.
“Get out (of prison) and you’ll go back and I’ll give you the maximum sentence,” Caldwell said.
Parsons’ request came near the end of a sentencing hearing that saw him be successfully object to at least one aspect of the pre-sentence report filed prior to his sentencing.
Parsons’ attorney, Joseph Lane, filed an objection two two aspects of the pre-sentence report. Parsons argued that, despite Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Parman’s argument in the pre-sentence report, he had not obstructed justice in the case. Parsons also argued that he should receive consideration in the sentencing process for “acceptance of responsibility,” since he had pleaded guilty to the drug trafficking charge, thus saving the government time and resources in trying him on the charge. During Tuesday’s hearing, Parman referenced findings in the case detailed in the pre-sentence report indicating that Parsons has, indeed, obstructed justice.
According to the report, Parsons, while lodged in the Pike County Detention Center, made threats against police officers in the case. According to the report, Parsons spoke with several people, including his wife, while on a recorded line during visitation at the jail and instructed them to forward threats to kill or cause bodily harm to Pikeville Police detectives Virgil Ray and Scotty Hamilton. According to the report, Parsons characterized those threats as him simply “venting” with no overt acts accompanying them, but Parman argued that both Ray and Hamilton could have been called as witnesses during the prosecution of Parsons.
In Tuesday’s hearing, Parman also said Parsons threatened an informant in the case.