After two days of testimony, a jury of eight women and four men found Joseph Ryan Ellis, Jr. guilty Tuesday of possession of methamphetamine and sentenced him to 99 years in the penitentiary.
Officer Gary Roberts of the Stephenville Police Department testified regarding a traffic stop of Ellis he conducted in June 2017. Roberts had been observing Ellis’ residence, after numerous people had been caught with narcotics after leaving the residence.
Roberts observed Ellis and a passenger leave the residence in a 2002 Ford Escort owned by Ellis’ mother. Ellis committed a traffic violation and was detained by Roberts in D.J.’s convenience store parking lot.
Officer Roberts is the K-9 officer for the Stephenville Police Department, and Roberts employed his trained contraband detection dog, Buky, to perform an open-air scan of the car Ellis was driving.
Buky alerted to the presence of contraband and an ensuing search yielded a plastic bag containing 1.5 grams of methamphetamine under the center-console parking brake control of the car.
The defendant’s mother, Betty Ellis, who resides on the same premises as the defendant, testified that numerous people had access to the car, and that the ignition was rigged in a way that people who were at her residence frequently took the car without permission.
On cross examination, Ms. Ellis listed the names of a number of people, several of whom she acknowledged were convicted criminals and narcotics users, who frequented her son’s residence.
The punishment range for Ellis’ offense was enhanced due to prior criminal history. Ellis faced from 25 to 99 years or life in prison for the offense.
“Narcotics use in this community is the root of the vast majority of property crimes, acts of violence and issues of child neglect that we see every day,” District Attorney Alan Nash said. “Hopefully a 99-year sentence for simple possession of methamphetamine will communicate to people who sell and use narcotics that Erath County is not a hospitable locale to do their crimes.”