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Judge not impressed by heartfelt pleas

CONROE – Judge Kathleen Hamilton of the 359 state District Court had harsh words and a harsher sentence on Wednesday for a defendant who she called “a dealer who uses,” and whose criminal history she called “appalling.”

Rodney Young Anderson, 31, of Fairfield was one of two men arrested in February 2008 following a drug bust that spiraled out of control and ended with four damaged vehicles and shots fired in a busy Conroe shopping center.

On Aug. 20, a jury found Anderson guilty of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (methamphetamine) and aggravated assault against a public servant. His attorneys placed his fate in the hands of Judge Hamilton.

The defense team asked for probation on the drug charge and a five-year sentence for assaulting a police officer. Prosecutors Rob Freyer and Sheri Culberson asked the judge to sentence Anderson to life in prison.

On Wednesday afternoon, Judge Hamilton began sentencing by telling the court how closely she had examined information related to the case, including a long list of letters pleading for leniency, for probation because the authors believe Anderson has changed.

Judge Hamilton mentioned one letter Fairfield mayor, Roy Hill who offered Anderson a job. Another from Anderson’s father said the whole family had been “prisoners to the pain of his addiction.”

The letters were written by family, friends and members of the community the defense hoped would impress the court. It appears that strategy failed.

Rodney Young Anderson was sentenced to 40 years in prison for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, and life in prison for aggravated assault against a public servant.

Anderson’s accomplice, 29-year-old Timothy Wayne Sherber is currently free on bond awaiting trial.

The 2008 incident occurred at the shopping center located near South Loop 336 and Interstate 45, where investigators say Anderson and Sherber were conducting a transaction involving 3-ounces of methamphetamine and $3,255 in cash. Unbeknownst to Anderson and Sherber, they were monitored by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit.

When the deal was complete and police began to surround the men, they crashed their pickup into a marked patrol unit that was blocking their escape, and struck two other vehicles as they tried to flee. An officer fired shots at the men, who both were grazed by bullets, leaving only superficial wounds. Anderson and Sherber were treated at hospitals and released to law enforcement, with both in the county jail within 24-hours.

Lt. Philip Cash, who heads up the SIU, said Anderson was dealing drugs in a wide area around his hometown of Fairfield, Texas. His business was conducted not only in the Montgomery County area, but in Central Texas and as far away as Dallas and parts of Louisiana where he was twice arrested on felony drug charges, Cash said.

During sentencing, Judge Hamilton read parts of Anderson’s criminal record, including his two arrests in Louisiana. Those occurred in Caddo Parrish in June 2005 and July 2007.

Hamilton sounded almost as appalled by the request for a “second chance” as she was by Anderson’s history.

“We have defendants who never had a chance for probation and all that it can offer,” Hamilton told Anderson, “And you did, and you laughed at it.”

Addressing the multiple count felony drug charges against Anderson in Louisiana in two separate arrests, Judge Hamilton said she could not “imagine a greater wake-up call.”

“You weren’t even prosecuted for a lot of things you were arrested for,” she said.

Judge Hamilton pointed to another incident that occurred in Dallas County in July 2006 when Anderson was arrested with a 7-year-old child in the backseat and methamphetamine in the driver seat.

She said he took an even greater risk and demonstrated how little he cared about anyone else during the 2008 incident, which occurred on a Monday, around 5:30 p.m. in a shopping center containing a grocery store and a movie rental store which would attract families stopping on their way home for the evening.

“You bought a ticket in the Dodge truck and you had everything that went with it,” she said.

As for the claims by family and friends that Anderson has changed, Judge Hamilton said his efforts were “five years too late.”

Lt. Cash said prosecutors Freyer and Culberson did an excellent job of trying the case of someone who is a danger to society as both a drug dealer and drug abuser.

“Historically, those who abuse methamphetamine are the most violent type of offenders,” Cash said. “This is one of the most addictive drugs we deal with on the streets.”

Cash said the Sheriff’s Office was very pleased with the outcome of the trial, praising both the jury for the conviction and the judge for the sentence.

“The Judge is sending a strong message to drug dealers,” Cash said, “Don’t do your business in Montgomery County.”

“The action taken today was a step forward in the war on drugs.”

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