Faulkner County jurors sentenced a Conway man to 35 years in prison for trafficking methamphetamine locally during a two-day jury trial earlier this week.
A jury of seven women and five men found Tuesday that Glen Allen Toney Jr. was guilty of charged.
"The jury found Glen Toney guilty on all four counts and sentenced him to separate prison sentences on each one," 20th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Luke Ferguson said. "After calculating the parole eligibility for each offense, Toney will be required to serve approximately 12 years before being eligible for parole. The jury was very attentive throughout the two days of trial and sentencing, and I believe they reached a result that furthers justice. We greatly appreciate their time and service in this case."
Toney was ultimately found guilty of trafficking methamphetamine, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, possession of marijuana with purpose to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia. Along with the four separate sentences (15 for meth trafficking, 12 for simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, three for possession of marijuana with purpose to deliver and five for possession of drug paraphernalia), Toney was also ordered to pay a collective fine of $6,000.
After listening to testimony regarding the evidence against Toney in this case, jurors reconvened Tuesday morning in Faulkner County Circuit Court to begin their deliberations. After two hours behind closed doors, the jury reached a verdict: guilty on all counts.
Following the guilty verdict, several family members and others close to Toney took to the stand to testify on the 25-year-old Conway man's behalf.
Alicia Ausler, a seventh grade teacher at Carl Stuart Middle School in Conway, told jurors that Toney always encouraged to be a better person.
Recalling traumatic memories of an abusive relationship she was once a part of with a cousin of Toney's, the middle school teacher said Toney was a support system that allowed her to succeed and surpass the rough times.
"He pushed me when I was in a bad relationship to make sure I could become a teacher like I wanted," she said as tears streamed down her face.
Ausler said she felt that despite a guilty verdict, Toney deserved a second chance and pleaded the jury consider giving the 25-year-old a light sentence.
Providing jurors with Toney's family history, Ausler said Toney never had a lot growing up and that the lifestyle he was currently exhibiting was a mirror of all he'd grown to know.
"If he was around people who pushed him to be better [things could be different]," she said. "I will always be there for him like he was there for me."
Following her testimony, Toney cried, wiping tears from beneath his eyes as she walked out of the courtroom.
Among others who took to the stand to testify as character witnesses on Toney's behalf was Latatiana Toney. Latatiana, who is Glen's niece, said the two were two years apart in age and grew up more like brother and sister than as an uncle to his niece.
She also shared a story of encouragement where she'd dropped out of school following her son's premature birth and Glen later encouraged her to go back to school and get her degree. Glen played as a huge supporter in her life, helping to provide gas money so she could go to and from school as well as to and from the hospital, she said, noting her son was born 16 weeks early and has cerebral palsy.
"He kept us together and always encouraged the rest of us to do better," Latatiana said. "I believe he will learn from this. Everyone should be given a second chance."
At this point, Ferguson pointed out to others in the court that Glen already had been given a second chance, referring to two previous felony convictions Glen has for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver in 2013 and fleeing in 2012.
"I understand you want him to have a second chance ... [but] as a mother, are you comfortable with his behavior," Ferguson asked of a teary-eyed Latatiana.
"No," she reluctantly replied.
Michael Kiel Kaiser, who represented Glen in this case, pleaded with jurors to give Glen a light sentence, noting the defendant was only trying to support his family.
"This is a man who chose to make a quick buck the wrong way," Kaiser pleaded. "This is someone who chose to support his family in the wrong way."
As he stood before jurors, Kaiser said that giving Glen a harsh prison sentence would not put a dent in the county's drug crimes and instead encouraged the jury to "hit him where it hurts" by ordering Glen to pay large fines instead.
"Hit him where it hurts if you think that's what this is about," he said. "If you think this case is going to do anything to take drugs off the streets [you're wrong]. It won't affect [other dealers], it will affect him."
Before jurors began determining a proper sentence for Glen, prosecutor's played a clip that showed a controlled buy conducted by Conway Police Department Sgt. Andrew Burningham.
Burningham said that as the controlled buy transpired, he was able to watch the confidential informant walk up and also talk with Glen inside his apartment in real-time through a concealed recording device.
In the video, viewers can see as Glen sits on his bedroom floor and packages $1,000 worth of meth for the confidential informant to unknowingly take back to authorities.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Megan Carter encouraged a harsh jail sentence.
"He may be young, but he's not inexperienced," she said of Glen's drug-dealing habits. "This isn't the Glen Toney that they [the family] knew."
The jury ultimately sentenced Glen to four separate prison sentences following the two-day trial that began Monday morning.
Ferguson said he was pleased with the jury's verdict and hopes it will send a message to others in the area.
"My hope is that Toney and other drug dealers will be forced to consider that their lazy way of making easy money is ruining families and tearing lives apart. The dealers may not see the pain personally, but there are real victims of their crimes," Ferguson said. "I appreciate the time that Deputy Prosecutor Megan Carter spent in thoroughly preparing this case for trial. And we want to recognize the investigators from Conway PD and agents from DEA that slowly built a very solid case against the defendant. The investigation made [Tuesday's] verdict and sentence possible."
In an unrelated case, Glen also faces felony escaping charges after reportedly convincing a Faulkner County Detention Center jailer and local bondsman to help break him out of jail earlier this year.
Former jailer Robert Ellis and bondsman Margaret Cockerell each face felony charges after allegedly aiding Glen in his escape on March 11.