Natalie and David DePriest were recently sentenced to a mind-boggling 30 years in prison. Their crime? Growing marijuana.
The brother and sister had not killed anyone, nor shot at police when their were arrested. They were simply caught with 12 marijuana plants and eight seedlings in their home. Now they are being imprisoned for a total of 30 years.
This is the harshest sentence that can be handed down for marijuana growing in the state of Missouri. To put this in perspective, the maximum punishment for manslaughter in Missouri is also 15 years.
That’s right, growing a plant and killing someone potentially carry the same prison sentence in the great state of Missouri.
The sentence followed a conviction in a 2011 arrest, after a maintenance man entered the DePriests’ home in the city of Farmington, while the brother and sister were out. He said that he was there to fit a fire extinguisher when he discovered what he imagined was a pipe bomb on the kitchen counter.
It wasn’t a pipe bomb.
The handyman took pictures of the device with his cell phone before calling the police who promptly raided the house. The cops discovered the plants inside a bedroom closet. They also found three pounds of dried marijuana, and a rifle which police say measured less than a quarter of an inch shorter than the legal limit of 16 inches. The pair claims to not know why the barrel would have been just barely shorter-than legal. If they wanted to create a short barreled rifle, they explained, why would they make it less than a quarter of an inch shorter?
Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Pratte handed down a 15 year sentence on the cultivation charge and a 15 year sentence for intent to distribute, with the sentences running concurrently.
David, who worked part time as a gun smith, was slapped with seven more years for that under a quarter inch-short rifle barrel. Are these really the people we should be locking up in cages? David was sent to prison for more time than if he had committed manslaughter. Does this make any sense?
(Article by M.B. David)