Man gets 8 years in prison

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 29, 2007

A Lawrence County Common Pleas jury took only a half an hour Friday to convict a Columbus man of complicity to trafficking in crack cocaine in the vicinity of a juvenile.

Paul Williams, 29, now faces up to eight years in prison and a mandatory fine of $7,500, Judge Scott Bowling said.

Williams was indicted in July, along with an accomplice, Jennifer Gothard, 27, of 1173 County Road 1, South Point. Gothard was sentenced to four years in prison after she pleaded guilty to trafficking in crack cocaine.

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Since she agreed to testify truthfully against Williams and if she exhibits good behavior while she is in prison, she may be eligible for judicial release after two years.

Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Mack Anderson said he offered the same deal to Williams, who refused it.

After the prosecutor’s office made that offer, Williams was caught trying to coerce Gothard to make testimony favorable to him while the two were lodged at the Lawrence County Jail. He was caught by corrections officers.

He was later offered a five year prison stay if he pleaded guilty to the indictment, but refused it as well.

Bowling said Williams will be sentenced Wednesday.