Attorneys say 92-month sentence enough for shopper in federal drug, gun case

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Attorneys for a man who said he was homeless but selling drugs for someone in exchange for a place to stay argue in a sentencing memorandum the seven year sentence he is eligible to receive is more than sufficient.

Federal public defenders Khalida Sims and Cathi Adinaro Shusky wrote in a sentencing memorandum Monday in the U.S. Northern District Court of Ohio their client, Robert Jeter, 39, has a long-standing drug problem and hopes to use his time in federal prison to finally kick his drug habit for good.

Jeter was indicted in March by a federal grand jury along with Anthony Bonner, also 39, on drug and weapons charges. The indictments stem from a Jan. 20 search warrant served by Youngstown police at an Idora Avenue home investigating drug activity.

Jeter pleaded guilty May 17 to charges of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and being a felon in possession of a firearm before U.S. Judge John R. Adams. His sentencing is set for Sept. 8.

Bonner pleaded guilty Aug. 13 to two counts of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and being a felon in possession of a firearm. His sentencing is set for Dec. 1 before Judge Adams.

During the search, police reported finding over $4,100 cash, a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol, a 9mm semiautomatic pistol and a large amount of crack cocaine.

An affidavit in the case said Bonner admitted the .40-caliber handgun was his.

Bonner also claimed in the affidavit Jeter “was just a homeless person he was helping out,” and he had the gun because he would “rather have it than not have it.”

The sentencing memorandum said Bonner told police he allowed Jeter to stay at the home in November 2020.

“In exchange for the roof over his and ‘drugs from time to time,’ Mr. Jeter would do odd jobs and watch the house when Mr. Bonner was away,” the memorandum said.

Jeter told police he sold drugs from the home occasionally and also used a gun to protect the house but he denied any knowledge of a large amount of drugs being there.

A pre-sentence investigation recommended a sentence of between 92 and 115 months. Jeter’s attorneys are asking for the lowest sentence.

The memorandum said Jeter began abusing alcohol when he was just 11 and marijuana at 16. He dropped out of school in the 9th grade and his life spiraled out of control, according to the memorandum.

“Things have only gotten worse for Mr. Jeter in the past few years and he has struggled with homelessness,” the memorandum said.

The memorandum said Jeter knows he must be punished for his actions and the 92-month sentence would be the longest prison sentence he has ever served. When he is released from prison, Jeter plans to live with a brother in Columbus and hopes to continue his education, the memorandum said. He received his GED in 2014.

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