Beisley receives five-year sentence in drug case

Friday, August 8, 2008

Nevada, Mo. -- Bob True Beisly II was sentenced in Platte County by Judge Gary D. Witt Aug. 4 for two felonies and two misdemeanors in a change of venue from Vernon County on charges stemming from an investigation in 2005. Still pending is a forfeiture hearing on a pickup and land Beisly owns that will be heard Sept. 4. The two felonies were charges of distributing, delivering, manufacturing or attempt to or possess with intent to distribute, deliver, manufacture, or produce a controlled substance. One of the misdemeanor charges was unlawful use of drug paraphernalia. Beisly pleaded guilty to those three charges.

The assault charge, assault in the 3rd degree - with physical injury, stemmed from an incident separate from the 2005 arrest on drug charges and Beisly gave an Alford plea for that charge. An Alford plea is a plea in criminal court in which the defendant does not admit the act and asserts innocence, but admits that sufficient evidence exists with which the prosecution could likely convince a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty.

Beisly was sentenced to 120 days in jail on the misdemeanor counts and five years in the Department of Corrections for the felonies. The judge allowed Beisly to delay his incarceration until Dec. 29. Vernon County Prosecutor Lynn Ewing III said the delay was not part of the plea agreement reached with Beisly but something Beisly's attorneys had asked for and the judge granted.

"Five years for a first time drug sale is within the Missouri sentencing guidelines," Ewing said. "We would have liked to have had a longer sentence, but we are glad to resolve all the thorny issues of governmental misconduct and entrapment with the guilty plea."

Vernon County Sheriff Ron Peckman said he was glad for the guilty plea but didn't understand why the judge allowed Beisly to delay going into incarceration.

"I do not understand the Dec. 29 date," Peckman said. "Beisly said he didn't want to be in jail on Christmas but he wouldn't have been if he went in now, unless he didn't think he could keep his nose clean until then."

The sentencing brings an end to some of the three years of legal wrangling since Beisly's arrest. Beisly had filed suit against a regional drug task force and against Vernon, Cedar, Barton, Dade, Bates and St. Clair counties and multiple municipalities and law enforcement agencies.

The civil lawsuit alleged that the drug task force was improperly formed and had no authority to act. The civil law suit also alleged governmental misconduct -- that the task force had failed to properly supervise the actions of the confidential informant used to buy the drugs from Beisley. These same claims of governmental misconduct, and a related claim of entrapment, were raised as defenses in the criminal drug sale case.

"Basically the defendant claimed he was entrapped and the government informant acted improperly by becoming too intimate with Beisley, and was asking the court to dismiss the criminal prosecution," Ewing said.

"It also became apparent during discovery that the informant had not been honest in her depositions and at earlier court hearings regarding compensation she had received from the task force in exchange for her work as an informant, and had not been honest about having sex with Beisley while she was attempting to buy drugs from him."

The lawsuit was later dropped when the task force was dissolved and a new one, the Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, was formed to help ease cooperation among the various law enforcement departments. Peckman said the task force had been formed correctly but extra care had been taken to ensure the new team could stand up to any scrutiny in the future.

"The task force was put together correctly," Peckman said. "We had lawyers look it over before it was formed and there was nothing wrong with how we did it."