Somerset man pleads guilty to additional drug charge

James Bradley Townsend

A local man convicted earlier this month of complicity to traffic drugs was back in court Thursday to wrap up two additional cases.

James Bradley Townsend, 50, of Somerset, appeared before Pulaski Circuit Judge Jeffrey Burdette -- pleading guilty to first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance (methamphetamine) and stipulating to probable cause in another meth trafficking case.

In exchange for Townsend's guilty plea to one charge and forfeiture of cash seized in both cases, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Neal Tucker asked that the other meth charge be dismissed and is recommending a one-year sentence which would be served concurrently with a 20-year sentence that is expected to be imposed next month.

On June 4, a local jury found Townsend guilty of Complicity to Trafficking in Methamphetamine and Complicity to Trafficking in Oxycodone after a two-day trial. During the penalty phase of trial, Tucker introduced evidence of Townsend's numerous felony drug convictions -- prompting the jury to also convict Townsend of being a persistent felony offender in the first degree and ultimately recommend he serve 20 years in prison.

Townsend's attorney Dan Thompson had filed a motion on June 10 asking for a new trial or a judgement of acquittal based on testimony of his client's prior criminal record, failure to instruct the jury on a lesser included offense, and lack of evidence that he owned the residence where the drug sales occurred.

On Thursday, Judge Burdette overruled that motion and ultimately accepted the plea agreement in the additional case. Townsend is scheduled to be formally sentenced on July 18.