Martin man heads to trial for drugs

Martin man heads to trial for drugs
Martin man heads to trial for drugs | Peter Graves

Peter Graves

Upon the decision that the defendant has “no standing,” a Martin man is headed to trial on drug charges.

At a suppression hearing held Thursday morning in Weakley County Circuit Court, Judge William Acree heard testimony relating to confusion on the true residence of the defendant, Peter Graves. 

Dating back to an affidavit released on Nov. 8, 2010 and written by Officer Karl Jackson of the Martin Police Department, he, along with Dpt. Mike Simmons; Officer Scott Watkins; Invs. Palmer and Crocker, all of the 27th Drug Task Force, plus Inv. Tommy Erwin and Officer Guy Pryor of the MPD prepared to do a reverse drug transaction on Graves on Nov. 4. 

The report showed that Graves had been purchasing marijuana from an informant and on Nov. 4, Graves told the informant that he would purchase half a pound of marijuana from the informant for $550.

According to the affidavit, Graves met the informant at a local convenience store inside its adjoining car wash, paid the $550 and was then arrested for the possession of marijuana for resale. 

A search was then conducted at 111 Wagner St. in Martin in accordance with Rule Eight on the Board of Probation and Parole Certification that Graves had signed on March 22, 2010.

Upon conducting the search of the residence, the affidavit reported that a small amount of marijuana (about 16 grams), 26 green Ecstasy pills and four blue Ecstasy pills along with a set of digital scales were found. 

Graves then garnered additional charges of felony possession of Schedule I for resale and possession of Schedule VI for resale.

At the suppression hearing Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Kevin McAlpin and Assistant Public Defender Colin Johnson attempted to clearly identify Graves’ place of residence on the possibility that the house searched, 111 Wagner St., was Graves’ girlfriend’s residence and not Graves’ actual residence.

Probation/Parole officer Kevin Sandefur had once represented Graves. 

He recalled Graves’ signing a list of rules that included Rule Eight – a statute specifically giving officers permission to search a residence without a search warrant. 

Sandefur maintained that Graves reported having a residence at 490 Haygood Rd., Apt. 13 and when he checked on him on the dates of Aug. 16, Oct. 4 and Nov. 1, he was present at the residence.

Sandefur believed Graves lived at the Haygood Road residence and took care of his brother who has an amputated leg, but still admitted doubt. 

Officer Jackson next took the stand and admitted that, as part of the Drug Task Force, he had been involved in the reverse drug transaction and had arrested Graves on Nov. 4. 

The officers searched the house at 111 Wagner St. on the basis of Rule Eight, found approximately 11.6 grams of marijuana and 30 tablets of Ecstasy, which, after being sent off to a lab, came back as “no controlled substance.”

The city recorder for the City of Martin, Chris Mathis, reviewed his records of utility bills and found that from July 6, 2010 until December, the meter was listed under Graves’ girlfriend’s name. 

As more confusion ensued on whether or not Graves actually lived at the apartment on Haygood Road or with his girlfriend on Wagner Street and no other proof could be offered into evidence, Acree decided, “The State failed to prove the residence, but the defendant has no standing,” and Graves will go to trial on April 25. 

wcp 3/29/11

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