After finding a 19-year-old Sulphur Springs man guilty of possession of less than a gram of crack cocaine Wednesday afternoon, a Hopkins County jury levied the maximum sentence for the third-degree felony conviction.
Douglas Deleon Brookins, 19 and the father of five children, was arrested for possession of the controlled substance near Pacific Park in April of last year by officers investigating a sexual assault.
District Attorney Will Ramsay, who prosecuted the case, said the charge was a state jail offense but was enhanced to a third-degree felony because the man was within 1,000 feet of Pacific Park, a drug-free zone.
A third-degree felony is punishable by a sentence of two to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Because the offense occurred in a drug-free zone, Brookins must serve at least five years before becoming eligible for parole.
Ramsay said he feels the community, when given a chance, will say exactly what it thinks about these types of offenses.
“I think what we need to do is give [the community] a chance to say it, put it in front of them like this jury,” he said. “They will answer and let these defendants know what they think and what the community thinks about it.”
The verdict and sentencing, the district attorney said, sends a message to drug dealers and users.
“If we put these cases in front of a Hopkins, Franklin or Delta county jury, they will say what it means to the community,” Ramsay said. “That puts out the word amongst the drug dealers that, if you want to play, if you want to do this, this is what's going to happen to you.”
Defense attorney Frank Long represented Brookins in the trial.