Williams gets seven years for trafficking

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Columbus man admitted he made numerous trips to Lawrence County to peddle drugs, authorities said. Now Paul Williams is making a trip to prison.

Williams, 30, was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in prison and fined $10,000 for complicity to trafficking in crack cocaine.

Williams could have gotten a maximum of eight years in prison. Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Mack Anderson asked Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge D. Scott Bowling to impose the maximum sentence for a number of reasons.

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He said Williams admitted he had made numerous trips to Lawrence County to sell crack, but had just not gotten caught until his arrest earlier this year. Anderson also said Williams gave authorities specific details about his drug activity.

Williams also tried to coerce the testimony of a co-defendant who was to was to testify in his trial and showed no remorse for what he had done, Anderson said, adding that the crimes took place in the vicinity of three juveniles.

Anderson pointed to Williams’ earlier robbery conviction in Franklin County as evidence of a pattern of criminal behavior.

“Due to all these reasons we think the maximum sentence is appropriate in this case,” Anderson said.

But defense attorney Warren Morford asked for some leniecy since this was Williams’ first drug conviction and the quantity of drugs involved, he said, was small.

“This is truly a case where we put the client at the mercy of the court,” Morford said.

Morford also said there is no evidence Williams was involved in any organized crime or racketeering or conspiracy with others.

Williams is the father of four small children, Morford said, and sold drugs to support his family. Morford also took issue with the idea that Williams had tried to get co-defendant Jennifer Gothard, of South Point, to lie on the witness stand.

He said Williams has only tried to get Gothard to tell the truth about what she knew of the drug activity for which she and Williams were arrested.

When he was asked if he had anything to say on his own behalf, Williams said it didn’t really matter what he thought, but asked if he could be transferred as quickly as possible out of the Lawrence County Jail.

In sentencing Williams, Bowling said the convicted drug dealer had failed to appreciate the seriousness of his actions and little regard for the community where he was peddling his drugs.

“It appears to me you’ve engaged in such practices for a number of years with little to no concern for the seriousness of the consequences of peddling your poison to people in Lawrence County and across the river in Huntington (W.Va.),” Bowling said.

He also ordered Williams to surrender his driver’s license for three years and be placed on three years community controlled sanctions after his release from prison.

Morford said he plans to appeal the conviction and sentence.