A Saline County jury took less than 20 minutes Wednesday, Aug. 13, to hand in a guilty verdict in the case of Lawrence E. Stewart, 45, of Marshall for the class A felony of distribution of a controlled substance near public housing or other governmental assisted housing.
Stewart was arrested and charged in September 2007 following the second of two drug buys made by a confidential informant that was observed by deputies of the Saline County Sheriff's Department.
According to the report by sheriff's deputies, Stewart was taken into custody after deputies obtained a search warrant of a residence in the 1300 block of South Grant following a "controlled drug buy." Deputies reported they discovered drug paraphernalia and a substance they believed to be cocaine.
In her closing argument to the six-man, six-woman jury, Stewart's attorney, Rebecca M. Hains of Warsaw, suggested that Stewart did not know the location of the drug buy was in public housing, a proposition rebutted by Saline County Prosecuting Attorney Donald G. Stouffer who noted every one of the nearby houses was identical to the one where the drugs were sold.
A sentencing hearing will be held at a later date. Stewart faces a sentence of from 10 to 30 years as provided in Revised Missouri Statute 558.011. Stewart was charged under statute 195.218.
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