FAIRMONT — An 18-year-old Baxter man police said had a loaded .22 caliber pistol and a small bag of methamphetamine in his pocket found a way to move forward with his life Thursday in Marion County Circuit Court.
Under the terms of a plea agreement, Marion County Judge Patrick N. Wilson deferred acceptance of a guilty plea by Nathan Ray Morgan, who was charged with felony prohibited person in possession of a concealed firearm. Morgan was placed in pre-adjudication court supervision for two years.
If he completes alternative treatment court successfully, Morgan can come back to court and withdraw his guilty plea and enter a plea to a misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, which Marion County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney J.T. Hodges said is the lesser offense in the case.
The judge said Morgan was to be released on supervision Thursday.
Morgan’s attorney, Tyler Cottrill, said Morgan understood his actions, and was grateful for the opportunity to enter alternative treatment court. Cottrill said it was “a fitting opportunity to move forward” for his client.
He noted how Morgan was contemplating his future and hoping to start his own business.
Judge Wilson reminded Morgan everything rested on him complying with the requirements he faces and told Morgan he was to participate fully and complete the program and can’t have any drugs or firearms. If Morgan doesn’t comply, then the judge said he could be looking at spending “considerable time” in a state penitentiary.
The punishment for the offense is not more than three years in a state correctional facility or not more than $5,000 in a fine, or both, it was noted in court.
According to the original complaint, Morgan possessed a firearm, concealed in his pocket, while being an unlawful user of and/or habitually addicted to methamphetamine, a Schedule II controlled substance.
On Aug. 10, a Fairmont Police Department patrolman came into contact with Morgan while attempting to serve a domestic violence protective order.
The patrolman saw a juvenile at the residence – who was accused of brandishing a firearm at the residence – peek out of the window and flee into the residence.
For the officer’s safety, the patrolman removed Morgan from the residence and prepared to detain him pending a safety sweep of the residence.
Before the patrolman could detain Morgan, he fled from the patrolman and disobeyed orders to stop, the complaint states. After a short foot chase, the patrolman caught Morgan.
The patrolman found a loaded .22 caliber pistol and a small bag of a white crystalline substance, which later field-tested positive for methamphetamine, in Morgan’s pocket.
Morgan told the patrolman that the white substance was methamphetamine “and that he had it to smoke it,” the complaint states.
In court, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Hodges told the judge that Morgan complied with the officer once he was caught.