BY HEATHER TOMLINSON, CJ Staff Writer Commonwealth Journal
A man who caused the evacuation of a Nicholasville retail store in November after police reportedly discovered an active portable meth lab on him was apparently out on bond — with strict conditions included — for a separate case in Pulaski County at the time.
James Robert Prater, 36, of Lancaster, was sentenced Friday to nearly 40 years in prison for violating the terms of his bond, according to Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney Eddy F. Montgomery and Pulaski County Attorney Martin L. Hatfield.
Prater is facing drug charges in Jessamine County stemming from a Nov. 21 incident in which he was allegedly found at the Nicholasville Wal-Mart with a two-liter bottle containing methamphetamine ingredients, according to media reports. A store employee reportedly discovered Prater asleep in a bathroom, and police found the one-step meth lab in Prater’s backpack.
The store was evacuated for about an hour as a precaution while authorities contained the materials.
Prater, who was arrested that day, had pleaded guilty earlier in November in Pulaski County to two counts of manufacturing methamphetamine, promoting contraband, and possession of a controlled substance (meth).
Prater pleaded guilty in that separate case as part of the Rocket Docket program.
Prater was released on bond pending his sentencing hearing, which was set for Friday, Jan. 4, but the terms of that bond included strict conditions, including home incarceration, according to Hatfield.
“Prater was informed by the court that if he violated the conditions of his bond the Commonwealth could be relieved of its obligation under the plea agreement and the Commonwealth would be permitted to argue for any sentence within the penalty range,” Hatfield stated in a press release.
It was during Friday’s hearing that testimony was given from a Nicholasville police officer who confirmed that Prater was the man reportedly found at the Nicholasville Wal-Mart with the meth ingredients. The officer also said Prater appeared to be under the influence of drugs.
According to Hatfield and Montgomery, Prater had cut off his ankle monitor as well.
Pulaski Circuit Judge David A. Tapp sentenced Prater to 38 years in prison. Tapp also handed down an additional 30-day sentence after evidence was presented suggesting Prater had made a false statement under oath.
The original case was prosecuted by Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Gregory A. Ousley.