Drug Trial Begins

March 04, 1992

A Delaware man faces a mandatory 10-year jail sentence if convicted of drug charges in a trial that began Monday in Howard County CircuitCourt.

Jeffrey L. Skutt, 31, was charged in April of 1990 with possession of PCP and possession of drug paraphernalia after county police raided a Laurel home.

Under the state's repeat offender law, Skutt will receive a 10-year prison term if convicted. He has a prior conviction of possession with intent to distribute PCP in October of 1989.

The charges against Skutt stem from a county police raid on April 11, 1990, on home of Donna West in the 9000 block of North Laurel Road. West's son, Kenneth, 19, and several of his friends were downstairs and Skutt was upstairs in a bedroom either passed out or asleep, said assistant state's attorney, Bernard Taylor. Three adults and four juveniles were arrested.

Police found a mason jar containing a mixture of PCP and parsley flakes in the kitchen freezer at the West house.

As part of aplea agreement with the state, two of the arrested juveniles, West and Gregory O'Dell, 18, have agreed to testify that Skutt purchased the PCP-soaked flakes in the jar.

Taylor said that the two witnesseswill testify that Skutt had worked with West that day and had gone back to the West home, where he made telephone calls trying to buy some PCP. An individual met Skutt at the house and sold him the drugs, Taylor said.

As part of the plea agreement, drug possession and distribution charges against West and O'Day will be dropped in a year, assuming they face no new charges.

Skutt's lawyer, Thomas K. Swisher, pointed out that Skutt was removed from the downstairs activity inthe West home and questioned the credibility of the state's key witnesses.

"Our philosophy will be that he's basically a scapegoat in this case," Swisher said.

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