The final pleas have been entered in the case of two former Washington County deputies.
Norris Wayne Bartley, 43, and Billy Joe Mattingly, 42, each entered a guilty plea in federal court Wednesday on charges that they were in possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. Both men had previously entered a guilty plea to a charge of stealing 30 pounds of marijuana from a locked trailer in Washington County on Nov. 12, 2009. Wednesday’s pleas confirmed that they were carrying firearms issued to them by the sheriff’s office at the time of the theft. According to a report from the U.S. District Attorney’s office, the men had attempted to hide the marijuana in their police cruiser, and they were later arrested by Kentucky State Police without incident.
In addition to entering the guilty pleas, both admitted to having given a statement to federal and state investigators, admitting that they had stolen the marijuana with the intention of later selling it.
According to the plea agreement, the United States will recommend a prison sentence at the “low end of the applicable range.” Despite that recommendation, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn III, will make the final decision when a sentence is handed down on Aug. 15 in Louisville.
Bartley and Mattingly can each be sentenced to as much as five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the marijuana charge. For the firearms charge, each can be sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison, with a possible maximum of life in prison.