Heroin dealer gets maximum prison term

Cary Ashby • Jan 18, 2013 at 10:49 PM

A Mansfield man convicted of selling heroin received the maximum prison term Thursday because of his criminal record.

Keith D. Wilson, 42, brought his case to trial last week in Huron County Common Pleas Court. After two days of testimony, a jury deliberated for about 15 minutes and found Wilson guilty of trafficking in heroin.

"The defendant has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 1989 when he was a young man," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said.

Over the years, Wilson has spent more than 10 years in prison, including a federal sentence for aggravated trafficking in cocaine.

"To the defendant's credit, he's not a user of heroin. He's a seller of it -- (apparently) to impress the ladies," Leffler told Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway.

The local crime involved a confidential informant and happened Sept. 12. Detectives who were sitting in an unmarked police vehicle near the Willard transaction testified they saw Wilson hurry away from the woman's car after he was leaning on the driver's side of the vehicle.

Police seized $320 in a cash they found in a purse in the residence which Wilson entered after the controlled drug buy. Detectives testified the bills matched the serial numbers of the money they gave the informant before the incident, which involved about 1.31 grams of black tar heroin.

Defense attorney T. Douglas Clifford said Thursday his client maintained he didn't commit the crime, even after "extensive plea negotiations" with Leffler. Clifford also said Wilson completed 2 1/2 years of parole after his prison terms, which should show there was "significant rehabilitation."

Wilson spoke briefly before the judge announced his sentence.

"I don't feel I was guilty. I accept it," the defendant said.

Conway ruled Wilson didn't show any remorse. Citing Wilson's "several trips to prison" -- which included some "lengthy stays," the judge said it's in the best interest of the community's safety for the defendant to spend the longest time possible in prison.

Wilson, who received an 18-month prison term, must pay $40 in restitution to the Mansfield crime lab to cover the cost of drug testing.

Since Wilson received the maximum sentence and took the case to trial, he has an automatic right to appeal. Wilson told the judge he plans to appeal and the court appointed Jim Sitterly to be his attorney for the process.

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