A Delaware man was acquitted Thursday on drug possession charges that could have meant 10 years in jail under Maryland's repeat offender law.
Jeffrey L. Skutt, 31, had been convicted in Howard County in 1989 of possession with intent to distribute PCP. The recent charges stemmed from a second arrest in April 1990 after police raided the home of Donna West, in the 9000 block of North Laurel Road, Laurel.
The state's case hinged on the testimony of two co-defendants whowere arrested in the raid and had negotiated plea bargains.
Police said that when they arrived at the West home, West's son, Kenneth, 19, and several of his friends were downstairs and Skutt was in an upstairs bedroom.
Officers found a Mason jar containing a mixture ofPCP and parsley flakes in the kitchen freezer.
At Skutt's trial, Kenneth West and Gregory O'Dell, 18, who were also arrested on drug charges, testified for the state against Skutt. They claimed that Skutt bought the PCP and an individual delivered the drugs to him at the house.
Assistant State's Attorney Bernard Taylor said Skutt's acquittal didn't surprise him because the jury probably viewed the state's key witnesses with some suspicion.
"In order to put the defendant in possession of the drugs we had to use the testimony of co-defendants," Taylor said. "That's always a risk, and it didn't pay off."
As part of the state's plea agreement with West and O'Dell, drug possession and distribution charges against them will be dropped in a year, assuming they face no new charges.
TURF VALLEY PLANS REVIEWED
County planners are reviewing initial plans for 66 homes in the middle of Turf Valley Country Club off Route 40, in eastern Ellicott City.
The 48-acre development would feature single-family detached homes on half-acre to one-acre lots and is part of the county's only areawith planned golf course community zoning.
The community, owned and developed by Mangione Enterprises of Turf Valley, has a potential for more than 1,300 homes split among high-, medium- and low-density parcels, along with commercial development on 673 acres. The golf course community zoning is intended to provide a mix of uses while keeping half the land as open space.
The plan will be discussed by planners from various county departments March 19 at a Subdivision ReviewCommittee meeting. If plans are accepted by county planners, they will be submitted to the Planning Board for approval.