After a Logansport man failed to appear for his trial on multiple drug-related charges, a Cass County jury found him guilty of two felony charges in absentia.
Circuit Judge Steve Kitts ruled that because Timothy Johnston, 51, did not show for the 8:30 a.m. trial by 9 a.m. Monday, he voluntarily waived his right to be present, according to a press release from the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office.
Johnston had been released from jail on Sept. 19, 2018, after posting a $20,000 bond, according to court records.
The Cass County jury first found Johnston guilty of Level 2 felony dealing in methamphetamine, which carries a sentence of 10 to 30 years.
After a second phase of the trial, the jury also found Johnston guilty of Level 4 felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, the press release stated.
That carries a sentence of two to 12 years.
During the second phase of the trial, the jurors had heard of a prior conviction he had in 2012 for dealing methamphetamine.
That made it illegal for Johnston to possess a firearm.
Long and handguns were found after a June 6, 2018, search of Johnston’s home.
Police had heard through an informant that Johnston had a rifle inside his residence, and at 12:15 a.m., the Cass County Drug Force had gotten a warrant to search the house.
They served it at 4:10 a.m. and had taken Johnston into custody by 4:15 a.m.
Johnston agreed to talk with police after his arrest and said there was paraphernalia in the house but that he was out of meth, according to court documents.
Police found the rifle in a bedroom, and there were two handguns in a safe that Johnston said he got as payment for methamphetamine.
He told officers at the scene that he would buy $3,000 of methamphetamine in Indianapolis and transport it to Logansport, selling it and making $5,000.
In the residence, police found multiple smoking devices, some with white residue.
The bedroom safe contained two baggies with a white crystalline substance weighing 7.47 grams total and a High Point 9 MM model G9 and a SCCY CPX-1 9 MM with two loaded magazines.
There were also $780 in a bank envelope and $1,000 in a plastic bag in the safe.
Leaning in the southwest corner of the bedroom, police found a Marlin Model 22 caliber 795 rifle, and above the safe was a notepad with names and numbers.
The Johnston trial is the 16th Cass County criminal case in 2021 to go to trial, more than double the highest number of jury trials in the previous decade, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Cass County Prosecutor Noah Schafer stated, “We’re fighting through the backlog of cases that the COVID shutdown of courts created, and we’re proud of the results.”