Jury takes just 8 minutes to convict Danville man of trafficking heroin

Christopher A. Pope

A Boyle County man is facing 20 years in prison after a Lincoln County jury convicted him last week on drug-related charges.

Eddy F. Montgomery, Commonwealth's Attorney for Pulaski, Lincoln, and Rockcastle Counties announced that a day-long jury trial resulted in the conviction of Christopher Alexander Pope, 29, of Danville of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and first-degree felony offender.

According to Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney David L. Dalton, the trial attorney for the Commonwealth, on September 1, 2018 an investigation by the Boyle County Sheriff's Office determined that a confidential informant could purchase an "eight ball" of heroin from Pope. Testimony was given at trial that Pope had no interest in doing the deal in Boyle County and that he instructed the confidential informant to make the deal at the Arby's in Stanford.

Deputies from the Boyle County Sheriff's Office maintained constant surveillance on the C.I. and observed him eventually meet with Pope at the Arby's. The C.I. eventually returned over 2.5 grams of a substance containing heroin and fentanyl to the deputies. The C.I. told the detectives he purchased the heroin from Pope for $290 - the cash for which was provided by the Boyle County Sheriff's Office. Pope was later indicted for first-degree trafficking and first-degree persistent felony offender by the Lincoln County Grand Jury.

Following testimony from three deputies with the Boyle County's Sheriff's Office, a technician with the KSP Laboratory in Frankfort, and from the confidential informant the jury convicted Pope of First-Degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance after eight minutes of deliberation. Pope then pled guilty to the persistent felony offender charge, taking responsibility for his prior felony convictions.

At the sentencing phase, the Commonwealth presented evidence of multiple prior felony convictions, dating back to 2008, including felony drug possession, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, multiple felony trafficking convictions, and an Alford Plea to conspiracy to first-degree trafficking. Pope took the stand on his own behalf at sentencing, attempting to mitigate the sentence. However, armed with details of Pope's prior felony cases, Dalton was able to question the extent to which Pope was actually taking responsibility for his actions.

Following the presentation of the convictions and Pope's testimony, Dalton asked the jury to return the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Dalton reminded the jury that Pope's prior 10 years were more persuasive than anything they had heard from him in the last 10 minutes. The jury shortly thereafter recommended the maximum. Pope's bond was revoked and he was taken into custody pending sentencing on July 12, 2019.

Montgomery praised Dalton's prosecution of the case. Dalton thanked the Boyle County Sheriff's Office for their thorough investigation and cooperation. Dalton also thanked the Kentucky State Police Lab as well as the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office. Dalton also noted that he received assistance from the Commonwealth's Attorney's Offices in Boyle and Fayette County who provided the case details from Pope's prior charges.