Moats sentences defendants back to jail for failure to address drug issues

TAYLOR COUNTY—A local man was back in Taylor County Court to enter a guilty plea, after he fled from officers.

Kevin Brian Runner was present in Taylor County Circuit Court with his defense council Sam Hess, to enter a guilty plea to fleeing from an officer. The charge carries a potential sentence of not less than one nor more than five years in prison and a fine of $1,000-$2,000.

“The state is recommending that the sentence be held in abeyance, and you be placed into the community corrections program,” said Judge Alan D. Moats.

According to court documents, the incident occurred in June 2018 when Taylor County Sheriff Terry A. Austin attempted to perform a traffic stop on Runner’s vehicle, and the defendant fled from him.

“I took off because I didn’t have a driver’s license and was afraid to stop because of that reason,” Runner told the court.

Fearing that there was more to the story, Moats questioned Runner’s potential drug usage around the time of the crime.

“I hadn’t used any drugs that morning, but I did use meth a couple days before it happened,” Runner revealed. “I had come off the drugs and slept the night before.”

The defendant stood firm in his belief that he was not addicted to drugs but admitted that he had a dependency on them to help alleviate the circumstances of his life.

“It is obvious to everyone else but you what is going on here,” Moats expressed to Runner. “Until you take off the blinders, nobody can do anything for you.”

Taylor County Community Corrections Director Tammy Narog reported to the court that Runner had been difficult while previously on the program.

“He had a bad attitude and was very adamant that he was not going to attend any kind of drug treatment program,” she voiced. “I would recommend that he stay in jail until he decides if he needs the help or not.”

Moats agreed with Narog saying, “You need to go back to the regional jail and do some reflecting and decide where you want to be and if you need help or not.”

He told Runner that now was the time to decide and that only he held the key to get out of his cell and out of his shackles.

With that, Moats ordered that Runner’s bond be revoked and he would serve the remainder of his sentence in prison, unless he decided to make a change in his life.

Steven Paul Cook was also present in Taylor County Circuit Court to enter a guilty plea to deliver of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, and failure to appear.

For his delivery charge, Cook faced one to five years in prison, and for his failure to appear, he faced an additional one to five years.

“The state is recommending that your sentences be served consecutively, making it 2-10 years total,” Moats revealed to Cook. “If long term substance abuse treatment is completed, they will recommend that your sentence be held in abeyance and that you are placed on Taylor County Community Corrections.”

Cook revealed that he was ready to make a change in his life, for the love of his unborn child.

“I just learned that my girlfriend is pregnant with my first child, so I want to change,” he shared.

Moats told him that he needed to confront his drug addiction and address the issue now, more than ever.

He told Cook that he had already noticed a difference in his physical appearance, since his late February hearing.

“You are already looking better, and I don’t just mean your black eyes. Yes, they are healing and do look better, but you look as if you have already gained some weight and just look better overall,” he commented.

Cook revealed that since his last visit, he had already gained approximately four pounds, and he attributes that to the lack of methamphetamine usage.

“If you are serious about getting help, we will work with you. Mrs. Narog will work with you. She is a compassionate, caring lady, and if you pick up the phone and ask for help, she will do it,” Moats said. “It is the sentence of this court that you will serve both one-to-five-year sentences consecutively, and that if you successfully complete a long-term drug treatment, I will hold that sentence in abeyance and place you on community corrections.”

With that, he returned Cook to the regional jail until arrangements could be made with a treatment facility.

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