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Drug Arrest Ends in Conviction

Stanley Bruce Roberson

The Centerville Courtroom was the scene for the District Court case against Stanley Bruce Roberson of Oklahoma City. Roberson was arrested in Leon County on May 20th, 2016. Roberson was found guilty of Possession of a Controlled Substance, 400 Grams or More, Wednesday, September 13th, by a Leon County Jury after two days of testimony.

The same jury sentenced Roberson, who had prior convictions in Texas, to 60 years in the Texas Department of Corrections. The Honorable District Judge Hal Ridley presided over the trial and sentencing.

Leon County District Attorney Hope Knight in opening remarks stated that the case was ?a simple one.? The jury learned in testimony that Roberson left Oklahoma City on May 19, 2016, spent the night in Houston, and the next day, May 20th, was returning to Oklahoma on Interstate 45 when he was stopped by Department of Public Safety Trooper Mike Asby for speeding.

The traffic stop led to a search of the vehicle that was owned by Roberson. Asby testified that he found eleven zip-lock bags containing various colors of pills in the trunk of Roberson?s car. Roberson was arrested and taken in custody to the Leon County Jail where he has remained waiting for trial. The pills, which totaled over 11,000 in number, were taken by Asby to the Forensic Crime Lab in Waco for testing and were found to contain methamphetamine, a controlled substance.

On the second day of trial, Knight called the forensic chemist who tested the drugs taken from Roberson?s car to the stand. The chemist explained that he followed the standard procedure for testing a large number of pills. That procedure is to use a statistical sampling plan to make an assessment of the entire content of pills. For the amount in this case, 29 pills would be randomly selected for testing.

The expert reported that the 29 pills he selected randomly from the batch taken from Roberson?s car all tested positive to contain methamphetamine. The expert said that he was 95% certain that if each of the remaining pills were tested 90% would prove positive for methamphetamine.

The jury was shown the video made by Trooper Asby of the arrest. The video, which is of Roberson as he sat in the DPS vehicle watching Asby search his car, shows Roberson in great stress that increases as Asby approaches and then opens the trunk of the car.

Defense Attorney Mark Maltsberger of Bryan/College Station argued vehemently that the state?s procedure to test only 29 of the over 11,000 pills was not efficient to send a man to prison. ?We only know that there is methamphetamine in 29 of these pills,? Maltsberger charged the jury, ?that does not amount to over 400 grams.?

Maltsberger also argued that Roberson did not know there were drugs in the trunk of his car. Maltsberger suggested that another, unidentified person, placed the drugs in the car while Roberson was in Houston. On the stand, Roberson said that he had been unaware of the presence of the drugs.

Knight gave a final persuasive argument for conviction stating that Roberson was carrying on that day enough meth for ?each high school student in Leon County to have 2 ? pills of the controlled substance. We have a drug problem in Leon County. And we deserve justice for our community.?

Maltsberger argued in closing that the state had not proven the amount of methamphetamine to be over 400 grams and had not proven Roberson knew the drugs were in his vehicle. Maltsberger asked that the jury seek justice, not righteousness. The jury took only 18 minutes to reach a guilty verdict.

In the sentencing part of the trial, Knight was able to present the jury with evidence of Roberson?s criminal history. Roberson had been convicted of Theft in 1991, in 1992, 1993, 2004, twice in 2005, 2007, and in 2008. All of these convictions occurred in Dallas County where Roberson served some time after some of the convictions and was then released only to re-offend. Knight asked the jury, ?How many chances do we give a person? I am asking you to give this defendant a life sentence.?

Roberson, who said he was three days from being 62 years old, took the stand to ask the jury for mercy. ?I am a good person,? said Roberson. ?Yes, I have stolen things, and I would probably steal again, but I am not a person who deals with drugs.? Roberson contended that another person must have put the drugs in his car without his knowledge.

Judge Ridley instructed the jury over the punishment phase and said that the range of sentencing could be 25 years to 99 years, or life in prison. The jury, made of 8 men and 4 women, returned with a sentence of 60 years. Maltsberger and Roberson indicated they would seek an appeal of this conviction.

After the trial, jurors interviewed agreed that it had been a simple case. One female juror said that hearing from Knight that there were enough pills for each high school student in the county, along with the fact of the number of prior convictions against Roberson, convinced her that a lengthy sentence was warranted.