— FROM STAFF REPORTS
A Parker County jury Wednesday convicted Johnny Todd Preston of possessing about 10 grams of crystal methamphetamine with intent to deliver it, then sentenced him to 99 years in prison.
Preston, 40, of Jacksboro, had four previous felony convictions. He could have been sentenced to a range of five to 99 years, or life, in prison on the first-degree felony charge of manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance more than 4 grams and less than 200 grams.
The trial took place in the 415th District Court before District Judge Graham Quisenberry.
An attempt to contact Preston’s attorney for comment was not successful.
The case began with a traffic stop by a Springtown officer on Dec. 30, 2011. The officer said when he spoke with the driver, Lesha Hoadley, he noticed signs indicating she might be under the influence of drugs. After further investigation, the officer determined that he had probable cause to search the car.
Hoadley reportedly attempted to conceal a glass pipe from the officer’s view. The officer removed Hoadley and Preston from the vehicle and completed a search yielding just under 10 grams of methamphetamine in the driver’s side door pocket and a quarter gram of methamphetamine, a digital scale and numerous small plastic baggies in a small black case with the name “Johnny Todd” written on it located in a coat that was on Preston’s lap at the beginning of the traffic stop.
Parker County Assistant District Attorneys Abigail Placke and Robert DuBoise introduced evidence from a United States Drug Enforcement Agent that Preston had been purchasing methamphetamine from a Metroplex supplier under investigation and that the scales and baggies found in the black case were items commonly used in the distribution of methamphetamine.
The federal agent told jurors during the punishment phase that he previously interviewed Preston in 2012 and Preston admitted that he trafficked approximately 3 to 4 pounds of methamphetamine from his Metroplex supplier to Jack and Young counties during the last half of 2011.
Prosecutors also called a Security Threat Group analyst from the Texas prison system, who told jurors that Preston’s numerous tattoos included some indicative of his affinity with white supremacist prison gangs. The analyst described the types of crimes commonly committed by those organizations both inside and outside Texas prisons.
Jurors deliberated for about 25 minutes Wednesday morning before finding Preston guilty. Prosecutors told the jury of Preston’s four prior felony convictions, including a 30-year sentence for possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, a 20-year sentence for felon in possession of a firearm, both in 2002, as well as two-year sentences for burglary of a building and engaging in organized criminal activity in the 1990s.
Placke pointed out to jurors that by the age of 40, Preston had already amassed sentences totaling 54 years in prison.
Jurors deliberated for less than 15 minutes before returning with their verdict sentencing Preston to 99 years in prison.
“My office appreciates the strong stand taken by jurors against repeat felons who traffic drugs through our community,” said District Attorney Don Schnebly.
Charged with manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance more than 4 grams and less than 200 grams, Hoadley, of Jacksboro, pleaaded guilty and was convicted in July, receiving 10 years deferred adjudication.