DeWitt man stops plea process in meth case

CLINTON — A DeWitt man elected not to enter a guilty plea for a felony drug charge and will have a pre-trial conference in two weeks.

Terry L. Atkinson, 46, appeared Thursday in Clinton County District Court for a plea hearing. Atkinson, after speaking to attorney Harold DeLange, did not wish to proceed with the plea hearing. A pre-trial conference is set for June 28.

The plea agreement filed stipulated Atkinson would pleaded guilty to possession of precursors to manufacture a controlled substance, a Class D felony. The plea agreement stipulated the State would seek enhancement as a habitual offender as originally charged. The State agreed not to seek enhancement for prior controlled substance convictions as originally charged and asked the court to impose a prison sentence not to exceed up to three times the period otherwise authorized.

According to the affidavit, at 7:38 p.m. Jan. 22, an officer traveling east on U.S. 30 near 300th Avenue observed a vehicle traveling west on U.S. 30 at 76 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone. The vehicle was the only vehicle in the area at the time. The officer conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle at 7:40 p.m. on the off ramp from westbound U.S. 30 to northbound Sixth Avenue South in DeWitt. Atkinson, the driver, informed the officer he was on parole for methamphetamine. An officer saw a dark blue backpack located behind the front passenger seat on the rear floorboard of the vehicle. Atkinson told the officer a change of clothes was in the backpack, as he just left a funeral in Clinton. The officer returned to his vehicle and confirmed Atkinson was on parole.

The affidavit states the officer returned to Atkinson and asked him for consent to search the vehicle. Atkinson agreed to the consent search. Atkinson told the officer there were some needles in the backpack that belonged to his grandfather, who just died. The officer located one-third bottle of Admiral Nelson's rum under the driver seat. There were no other items located in the driver area. An officer searching the passenger side located a roll of aluminum foil next to the backpack.

The affidavit states that while checking the backpack, the officer located several items commonly used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. Atkinson stated he did not know they were precursors for the manufacturing of methamphetamine and was just carrying them around until he found a place to throw them away. A criminal history showed Atkinson had prior convictions for possession of precursors to methamphetamine and manufacturing of methamphetamine, showing he likely knew the items were precursors, the affidavit states.