Sentences for multiple individuals arrested on meth charges dispensed Tuesday

By Gary Scott on May 7, 2015 at 8:45am

Huff (left), Fanning (right)

Two of the individuals arrested for operating an active methamphetamine lab in northeast Jacksonville earlier this year have been sentenced.

Forty-year-old Ronald Fanning and 41-year-old Chance Huff of the 7-hundred block of North East were sentenced in Morgan County Court on Tuesday for unlawful participation in meth manufacturing.

As part of plea deals, that charge was amended from an aggravated meth manufacturing charge, and several other meth-related offenses for Huff and Fanning were dropped. Fanning received six years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, while Huff received five.

Morgan County State’s Attorney Robert Bonjean notes that means the felonies for which both men were sentenced changed from Class X to Class 1, meaning instead of having to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence, the “day-for-day” rule will apply.

“A lot of it is fact-driven in terms of what I believe was my case and the evidence, and the ongoing investigation kind of reveals in terms of what proof we can put to the elements. In this case, sure, with a Class X felony meth case, with the aggravated participation, it would have been 85 percent, that would have been nice,” he says.

“But obviously, the facts in this case met the Class 1, which would be served on 50 percent if he has good behavior.”

Bonjean adds although both were residents of the meth lab, Ronald Fanning wasn’t believed to be the main cook.

“I think he had taken some overt steps to assist Mr. Huff, who we kind of believed was the main cook in this situation,” says Bonjean.

“One of the reasons we amended it down from the aggravated Class X to the Class 1 was the aggravating factor, the fact that a child of Mr. Fanning’s was present. She was 17 years old, had to be under the age of 18. I think it may have been difficult trying to track her down and get her in the court to be that witness and have that evidence that she was present when meth manufacturing was ongoing,” he continues.

Several other sentences were handed down on Tuesday involving people arrested for meth-related offenses.

Thirty-nine-year-old Heather Cox of Fernwood Drive was sentenced to two years probation and was fined $1,700 after pleading guilty to use of property. Cox was the last of three people originally arrested last September to be sentenced for running a meth lab at her residence.

The most serious sentence was given to the alleged main cook, Robert Russell; Lance Looker also recently reached a plea deal.

Also yesterday, Heidi Stripe was sentenced to 180 days in jail for possession of a meth precursor. Stripe was ordered to serve two years probation and fined $1,430.