A Jacksonville man will serve eight years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for cooking methamphetamine in a city residence.
Thirty-nine-year-old Robert Russell pleaded guilty to aggravated participation in meth manufacturing yesterday. In addition to the IDOC sentence, Russell must serve three years of mandatory supervised release. He gets credit for 74 days served in local jail.
A second charge of possession of meth-manufacturing materials was dropped as part of the plea deal.
Russell appeared in court during pre-trial proceedings on Wednesday and filed a motion to continue the case, but Morgan County State’s Attorney Robert Bonjean says Russell called his attorney, public defender Tom Piper, later in the day and changed his mind.
“Obviously happy with getting Mr. Russell sentenced off to prison, kicking him out of the community for the next several years,” says Bonjean.
“We’ve never had any problems with him in the past with cooking methamphetamine. He had a prior felony conviction for possession of methamphetamine, maybe still was on probation when he was arrested for cooking it and participating over there on Fernwood.”
The two other city residents accused of being involved in the meth-making operation who were arrested at the end of September, Heather Cox and Lance Looker, have court appearances scheduled in early 2015. Bonjean says Russell was the big fish in this case.
“There were two other people that were arrested at the same time based on use of property and possession of methamphetamine, which are lower-classification sentences,” he says. “But Mr. Russell was the main cook among this group of drug users.”
Russell could have spent 30 years in prison. Lance Looker is due in court February 5th. Cox is due to appear on January 7th.