Peelman
Peelman
A man convicted of methamphetamine charges in October was sentenced to 38 years in prison Tuesday.

A 12-member jury found Christopher W. Peelman, 29, guilty of dealing meth and conspiracy to deal meth after a three-day trial. Both charges are Class A felonies, which carry a range of 20 to 50 years in prison.

Because of the nature of the charges, Judge Ted Todd could have imposed the sentences for the two crimes consecutively, or one after the other. Todd opted to sentence Peelman to concurrent sentences, which would run at the same time.

The largest factor that Todd said led to the lengthy sentence was Peelman's criminal history. Over a span of 11 years, Peelman was arrested 15 times, which led to 11 convictions - eight of which were felonies.

Peelman has been placed on probation 10 times, six of which he failed and was sentenced to extra prison time as a result, according to Switzerland County chief probation officer Jeff Theetge.

Prosecutor Chad Lewis said Peelman currently has two pending cases in other counties and five active arrest warrants. Peelman was also on probation out of Switzerland County at the time of his arrest, Lewis said, which was another aggravating circumstance in Todd's decision.

Prosecutors alleged that Peelman gave other people money to buy boxes of pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in meth. Todd said another aggravating factor was the fact that he brought other people in to help him make drugs.

Todd found no mitigating circumstances in the case, which would have led to a reduced sentence. Peelman had three family members testify on his behalf and had more than 15 people show up to court.

Gail Davis, Peelman's mother, said she has been looking into drug rehab programs she could get her son into in order to get him off drugs. She said she would do whatever it took to get her son clean.

"I will go to rehab with him. I will go where he needs to go. I will be with him 24-7," she said.

Todd did not put much weight on the family's willingness to help Peelman get through his drug addiction.

"I can't rely much on that because ... that support system hasn't been here since you were 17," Todd said.

In a prepared statement for the court, Peelman admitted he had a drug problem and wanted a short sentence so he could get into a rehabilitation program. The circumstances of the case made it such that the minimum Peelman could be sentenced to was 20 years.

Jeff Flores, Peelman's attorney, requested Peelman be sentenced to 20 years in prison followed by a period of time on house arrest so he could receive treatment. Lewis requested Peelman be sentenced to 48 years in prison, with no time suspended.