By Keith Gushard
A Cambridge Springs man has received a two and one-half to 12 year prison term in connection with a clandestine methamphetamine lab at a West Mead Township home in April.
Melvin Shane Beachy, 38, of 282 McClellan St., received the sentence Friday in the Crawford County Court of Common Pleas from Judge Mark Stevens. Beachy was given credit for 297 days already served and ordered to pay a $250 fine and court costs.
In a separate case Friday, Beachy was sentenced to 12 months probation, paying fines of $175 and court costs for possession of drug paraphernalia and a vehicle registration violation. Stevens ordered the probationary sentence to run concurrently to the methamphetamine sentence.
In January, Beachy entered a best interest guilty plea to a charge of manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver methamphetamine.
In entering a best interest guilty plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, however, a defendant does admit he is satisfied that he would be found guilty if the case went to trial.
The manufacturing charge had a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison.
Pennsylvania State Police said the methamphetamine operation caused a small explosion and fire at a West Mead Township home on Echnoz Avenue on April 30, 2013.
State police had charged Beachy with operating a methamphetamine lab; causing or risking a catastrophe; reckless burning or exploding; endangering the welfare of children; manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver methamphetamine; disseminating false information; manufacturing of methamphetamine with a child present; and knowingly possessing ephedrine.
Beachy had been scheduled to go to trial in January in county court, but reached a plea bargain with the Crawford County District Attorney’s office.
Beachy entered the best interest plea to manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver methamphetamine with the other charges dropped.
District Attorney Francis Schultz said he agreed to a plea bargain with Beachy because one of the main witnesses who would have been called at Beachy’s planned trial also was involved in methamphetamine production and there would have been credibility issues as to who caused the incident.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.