EFFINGHAM — Two of the four arrested in a Shumway methamphetamine bust earlier this month pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Effingham County Circuit Court.
Attorneys for both Tara Devoe, 18, and Nathaniel Sparks, 23, both of Beecher City, waived formal arraignment in Judge Allan Lolie's courtroom. Devoe faces up to 30 years in prison on charges of meth manufacturing and aggravated meth manufacturing, while Sparks faces a meth possession charge punishable by up to five years in prison.
Ed Deters, Devoe's court-appointed attorney, asked Lolie to set jury selection for the first available date. The judge set that jury selection for 8:30 a.m. July 7, with a status hearing set for 9 a.m. May 20. The teen remains in jail in lieu of $200,000 bond.
In the Sparks case, court-appointed attorney Aaron Jones of Effingham asked that his client be released on his own recognizance. Jones noted that Sparks resided and had relatives within the county, and had also been caring for a visually-impaired friend in Shumway. Moreover, Jones said, Sparks may be able to get a landscaping job upon his release.
But Assistant State's Attorney Ralph Fowler argued that Sparks had a history of skipping court appearances. But Fowler added that he would consent to Sparks' release into a treatment program.
Lolie reduced Sparks' bond to $15,000 and set a status hearing for 11 a.m. May 28 and jury selection for 8:30 a.m. July 7.
Co-defendants Cody Laue and Stacey Beccue remain in jail pending their own court appearances.
Bill Grimes may be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, at email@example.com, or via Twitter @EDNBGrimes.