Couch guilty

Charles Couch in Jones County Circuit Court with public defender Cruz Gray. (Photo by Mark Thornton)

 

A new father who can’t seem to break old habits is going back to prison for trying to sell drugs shortly after he was released by the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Charles Couch Jr., 35, was ordered to serve four years in the full-time custody of the MDOC after pleading guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. He was sentenced as a habitual offender, meaning he will have to serve all of his time day-for-day, with no chance for early release.

Couch “had a shot” to get straightened out in drug court but was dismissed, Judge Dal Williamson said. He asked Couch why.

“I had good intentions, but unfortunate circumstances … I lost my mother and went down a bad road again,” he said.

The judge said that was no excuse. When he found out that Couch has a 2-month-old son, he asked, “Why are you helping make the world drug-plagued? Do you want your son to be a meth-head? Do you want him following in your shoes?”

Couch said, “No, sir.”

He said he “didn’t have inner strength” and “didn’t have God as part of my life.”

Couch was arrested with illegal drugs and guns again earlier this month, but he won’t face charges for that until he’s finished serving this four-year sentence. In addition to the prison time, he will have to spend four years on post-release supervision under MDOC, participate in the court’s community service program and pay $1,927.50 in court fees and fines.

“You’re a grown man; you’ve got to make better decisions,” Williamson said. “You better wake up.”

The most recent sentence stems from a February 2018 arrest when the JCSD caught Couch with 21 grams of meth in his Mustang at his residence on Brown Drive in February 2018, Assistant District Attorney Kristen Martin told the court. MDOC records show that Couch wasn’t released from prison until June 2018, agency spokeswoman Grace Fisher said.

Couch was ordered in February 2012 to serve 15 years for DUI-death and leaving the scene of an accident in Perry County, she said, and was released on probation after serving a little over six years. He was also convicted of burglary in Perry County in 2010, making the drug conviction his third felony.

Charges for possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a stolen firearm were dismissed, Martin said, because “there were six or seven people at the residence” when he was arrested, so it would be difficult to prove. Couch was facing up to 30 years on the drug charge. He was represented by public defender Cruz Gray.

After Couch serves his sentence on the drug charge, he will be facing another gun charge that he was arrested for early this month. He was caught in a vehicle with two guns he admitted were his — a .38 Special and a .45-caliber semiautomatic — three counterfeit $100 bills and a “loaded syringe,” according to the JCSD report.

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