KELLY J. HESSELL, d/o/b 2-08-1957, of Kirbyville, was found guilty today of the class B felony of possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Judge Eric Eighmy announced his verdict the same day the trial was held. Taney County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Thomas Kondro prepared and tried the case for the State of Missouri. Hessell was also found guilty of two class D felonies related  to the delivery and possession of drug paraphernalia.

This case arose from the execution of a search warrant at Hessell’s residence in Kirbyville on September 17, 2014. Inside the residence, Detective Dan Luttrell of the Taney County Sheriff’s Department discovered approximately 3.5 grams of meth divided among eight separate baggies. Detective Luttrell also discovered digital scales commonly used to measure methamphetamine, multiple spare plastic baggies commonly used to package methamphetamine, and other items of drug paraphernalia. In addition, he discovered a loaded handgun, a surveillance camera system, and several hundreds of dollars in cash along with a list of names and amounts.

On the date of the search, Hessell admitted to Detective Lutrrell that she was a user of methamphetamine, but she denied any distribution activity.  At trial, she testified that all the meth was for her personal use as an appetite suppressant. The Court heard evidence regarding Hessell’s criminal history, for purposes of determining her credibility. At the close of trial, the defense requested the Court find Hessell guilty of mere possession. Ultimately, however, the Court rejected the defense’s argument and found Hessell guilty of possession with intent to distribute.

As a class B felony, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute carries five (5) to fifteen (15) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. Each of the class D felonies will carry two (2) to four (4) years in prison, or up to a year in the county jail, or a fine of up to $5,000, or a combination of fine and imprisonment. Judge Eric Eighmy has scheduled sentencing for this case on June 15, 2017.