Gibson City man accused of dealing pot suddenly pleads guilty mid-trial

Gibson City man accused of dealing pot suddenly pleads guilty mid-trial

PAXTON — A Gibson City man's trial was cut short after he unexpectedly entered a plea of guilty to the charge of unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver during Ford County State's Attorney Andrew Killian's presentation of evidence.

Bernard Davis' plea came after a jury heard from all but one of the state's witnesses Tuesday, and prior to the state commencing that witness's testimony Wednesday.

On Aug. 28, 2017, the 54-year-old Davis was charged in Ford County Circuit Court with manufacture/delivery of 500 to 2,000 grams of cannabis, a Class 2 felony; possession of 500 to 2,000 grams of cannabis, a Class 3 felony; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor.

On Aug. 2, 2017, agents from the Illinois Department of Corrections' Parole Division and Gibson City police conducted a search of Davis' residence at 211 E. Eighth St. in Gibson City, after receiving tips from individuals that he was dealing cannabis and after observing unusual traffic at the residence.

During the search, law enforcement officers found about 31 / 2 pounds of cannabis along with other items that, according to Killian, "strongly supported" the allegations that Davis was selling cannabis from the residence.

Also arrested following the search was Veronica Bucio, 22, who resided with Davis and operated Veronica's Pet and Baby Sitting out of the home.

Bucio entered a plea of guilty to the same charge in December 2017 in exchange for three years of probation and 180 days in the Ford County Jail, and she was the lone state witness the jury did not get to hear from prior to Davis entering his plea.

Davis, who was on parole for a 1998 conviction for home invasion at the time of his arrest last August, faces up to 12 years in prison at his June 19 sentencing hearing.

Davis was acting as his own attorney during his trial, after informing Circuit Court Judge Matt Fitton that he no longer wished to have the assistance of public defender Harvey Welch.

Will Brumleve is editor of the Ford County Record, a News-Gazette Media community newspaper. For more, visit fordcountyrecord.com.

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