UPDATED: 'Habitual offender' could face life in prison
By Echo Staff
Oct 25, 2013, 23:08
It only took a jury about 20 minutes Thursday to find a Bay St. Louis man guilty of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
Ronald J. Galloway, 44, was on trial this week for allegedly possessing six bags of marijuana at the Martin Luther Park in Bay St. Louis in August 2011.
Circuit Court Judge Larry Bourgeois will sentence Galloway on Nov. 7.
Prior to trial, Galloway apparently made threatening statements to one of his attorneys and extra security was ordered for the two-day trial.
A jury was selected on Wednesday and the trial began later that afternoon.
Bay St. Louis Police Lt. Detective Robert O'Neal testified Thursday that he and other officers had received information about someone trying to sell drugs in the park on Aug. 26, 2011.
O'Neal, who was a narcotics officer at the time, said he, narcotics agent James Burch, and patrolman Randall Darty investigated the case. Darty testified that when he arrived at the park, he saw Galloway throw down a brown paper bag and flee the area.
Galloway was later apprehended by O'Neal and Burch.
The paper bag was recovered and it contained six bags of "green-leafy substance," officials said.
The substance was tested by the Mississippi Crime Lab and it was determined to be marijuana, a crime lab official testified.
During the course of the investigation, Galloway gave officers a full confession, stating the marijuana was his and he intended to sell it, officials said.
Galloway did not take the stand in his own defense.
Galloway's attorney Chris Smith urged the jury to consider a lesser charge of possession of a controlled substance less than 30 ounces, a misdemeanor.
"This is not exactly Pablo Escobar drug cartel stuff," Smith said.
Assistant District Attorney Chris Daniel asked the jury to hold Galloway accountable for his actions.
"You can tell his guilt by his actions," Daniel said. "This is selling drugs in a public park where kids go to play. Tell the people who live by that park that you are going to hold him accountable. Do not send him back to that park."
After deliberating for about 20 minutes, the jury returned a guilty verdict.
Galloway has several prior convictions for drug-related activities and if prosecutors seek an enhanced penalty for habitual offender status, Galloway could face life in prison.