By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer
A Madison grand jury has indicted five people on a variety of charges related to the discovery of a meth lab and a young child in a local hotel room earlier this year.
Jessica D. Bowling, Victoria Burdiss, Sandra Kaylor, Christina Lowery and Nathaniel Cawthon were indicted Wednesday on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine, fourth-degree controlled substance endangerment of a child, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Burdiss also was indicted on a charge of tampering with physical evidence, and Rowling was indicted as a second-degree persistent felon.
Manufacturing methamphetamine is a Class B felony, punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison. In Rowling’s case, if she is convicted as a persistent felony offender, the penalty range for making meth is 20 years to life in prison.
The Kentucky State Police responded to a report Jan. 27 about a strong odor coming from a room at La Quinta Inn, 1751 Lexington Road in Richmond.
The troopers reported finding a one-step meth lab in a room, along with the five adults and a young child, according to the KSP.
Originally, Burdiss and Cawthon were the only ones charged with chemical child endangerment because they are the parents of the child. However, the grand jury applied the charge to the other three defendants.
The Kentucky General Assembly passed the tougher controlled-substance child-endangerment law in 2005, targeting people who make meth around young children.
The lowest level of the charge – fourth-degree controlled-substance child endangerment – is a Class D felony. It carries a sentence of one to five years in prison.
Endangering the welfare of a minor in situations that do not involve controlled-substance activity is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by 90 days to 12 months in jail.
KSP Sgt. Harvey Baxter said in addition to the chance of explosion, some of the chemicals used to make meth are highly toxic. The waste made by the one-step process also is dangerous, Baxter added, noting that two to three pounds of waste chemicals are produced for every one to two ounces of meth.
“Kids that are crawling and walking, they put anything in their mouths and in their hands,” Baxter said.
He said some of the chemicals found in the La Quinta room had leaked out of a plastic bag onto a bed, eating a large hole in the bedspread.
Workers with the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services were called after the arrests, and the child eventually was released to the custody of a family member, Baxter said.
Other indictments issued Wednesday:
• Patty A. Wagaman, 21 counts of second-degree forgery, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and theft by deception. She faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
• Bryan K. Beagle, manufacturing methamphetamine. The charge is a Class B felony, punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison.
• Trina Denise Abney, first-degree possession of a controlled substance (second offense) and possession of drug paraphernalia.
• Britney Cope, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and giving a peace officer a false name.
• Loren Elizabeth Sparks, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, third-degree possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
• Lisa D. Hacker, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a methamphetamine precursor, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.
• Brian E. Falkenberg, first-degree fleeing or evading police, operating a motor vehicle while impaired, resisting arrest, speeding 26 miles over the speed limit and failure to maintain insurance. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
• Boyd D. Neeley, first-degree bail jumping. The charge is a Class D felony, which carries a penalty of one to five years in prison.
• An indictment is a formal statement of charges and does not imply guilt, only that grand jurors believe the state has enough evidence to prosecute.
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6694.