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Lanesboro man sentenced to 13 years in prison

Fri, Mar 21st, 2003
Posted in Features

Mark Anthony Heath, 29, of Lanesboro, was sentenced to 13 years in prison by Judge Robert Benson in Fillmore County District Court on Monday. Heath was found guilty on February 7 of five counts related to the manufacture and sale of methamphetamine stemming from an incident on May 6, 2002 in Rushford.

Heath was convicted of one count of conspiracy to manufacture a controlled substance, one count of manufacturing a controlled substance, and one count of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell. He was also convicted of two other possession charges.

Prosecutor David Voigt, from the Attorney General’s office, asked the court for an upward departure of 50% above the presumptive sentence of 158 months. Voigt argued that Heath’s actions endangered a family of four living near the garage where the methamphetamine was being manufactured. He also argued that Heath was “the brains behind the operation as Heath knew how to manufacture methamphetamine.”

Voigt also asked the court to treat the conspiracy and sale charges as two separate criminal objectives.

“The jury made a factual determination that there was more than one criminal objective,” Voigt said. “Possessing methamphetamine is not a part of conspiracy to manufacture the drug.”

Defense Attorney Larry Maus told the court that Heath uses and abuses methamphetamine and that his actions were intended to feed a habit and an addiction.

“Heath didn’t have thousands of dollars laying around,” Maus told the court. “This was not a crime against others.”

Maus further argued that the multiple charges be treated as one crime as there was no intent to distribute and sell methamphetamine.

Prior to his sentencing, Heath addressed the court. Heath told the court that he is not a violent person, nor did he believe he was a menace to society. He said that while he needs to go through chemical dependency treatment, he couldn’t see why the state was asking for an upward sentencing. Heath concluded his remarks by asking the court for leniency.

Judge Robert Benson sentenced Heath on two counts: 201 months for conspiracy to manufacture a controlled substance; and 237 months for possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell. The sentences are to be served concurrently. Benson further ordered that Heath serve a minimum of 2/3 of the sentence, which equates to 13 years in jail. Heath was given credit for 316 days in jail served.

Tanya Michelle Burns

Tanya Michelle Burns, 29, of Cresco, Iowa pled guilty in Fillmore County District Court on Monday to two felony charges related to when Burns was an employee of the City of Ostrander.

Burns pled guilty to fraud, for the illegal use of a credit card for purchases in excess of $3,000; and theft, for stealing a city owned computer valued at more than $1,300. All other charges were dismissed.

Sentencing has been set for April 21. Burns was released on her own recognizance.

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