Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Local News

January 17, 2014

Man avoids prison

A 58-year-old man from Mystic who served prison time in the past for two felony cases recently was sentenced to jail for two recent drug related charges.

Walter Eugene Bills, from a criminal case that started in February of 2013, was charged with possession of a controlled substance-third or subsequent offense, a D felony. Bills was found guilty by jury on the lesser charge of possession of a controlled substance, serious misdemeanor and Judge Rose Anne Mefford on Jan. 3 sentenced Bills to one year in jail, all suspended and a fine.

From the same February 2013 criminal case, Bills was originally charged with possession of a controlled substance, second offense, an aggravated misdemeanor. He entered a negotiated voluntary guilty plea to the charge of possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, second offense, a serious misdemeanor and Judge Mefford Jan. 3 sentenced him to one year in jail, but suspended all but two of those days.

The third charge brought against Bills from the February 2013 case was dismissed Jan. 3 — driving while barred, habitual offender, aggravated misdemeanor.

The offense date for the three charges was Feb. 23, 2013. Bills was arrested Feb. 23, 2013 by the Appanoose County sheriff’s office at 470th Street and state Highway 5 and charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance and driving while barred.

Bills owes Appanoose County $1,110.25 for the adjudication of this case.

Bills is no stranger to the court system in Appanoose County and has served prison time.

In 2005, Bills was found guilty of habitual offender possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine and a judge sentenced him to 15 years in state prison.

In 1997, Bills was found guilty of possession of a firearm by a felon, guilty of a controlled substance violation, D felony and guilty of third degree theft, an aggravated misdemeanor.

For the firearms conviction, Bills was sentenced to five years in state prison. For the controlled substance violation, Bills was sentenced to 10 years in state prison. For the theft conviction, Bills was sentenced to two years in state prison. The five, 10 and two year prison sentences were ordered to run concurrently with each other which means a total of 10 years.

Bills still owes $1,173.72 for the adjudication of the case from 1997.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

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