RUSSELLVILLE — Two men pleaded guilty and avoided jury trials this week in Franklin County Circuit Court, officials said.
District Attorney Joey Rushing said Friday that John James Common, 29, 503 S. Carrol St., Russellville, pleaded guilty to unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, while Sean Tidwell, 23, 408 S.W. Green Ave., Russellville, pleaded guilty to second-degree receiving stolen property.
Common was sentenced to 20 years, split with three years and a day to serve in prison. Rushing said Common will be on five years probation after his prison term.
Common was arrested Aug. 18, 2011, and charged with unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, officials said. Rushing said Common’s trial started Thursday and after a jury had been seated and testimony had begun, he was approached by the defense attorney.
“He said (Common) wanted to plea, so we reached a decision for him to plea,” Rushing said.
Courthouse officials said Common, who has prior drug convictions, still has pending charges in other counties.
“We felt he was someone local officers felt should serve some prison time for what he had been involved with,” Rushing said. “We feel good that he will be going to prison for the next few years.”
Tidwell was sentenced to six years in the Franklin County Community Corrections program, officials said.
Rushing said Tidwell was accused of being involved in a burglary at the Russellville youth football field concession building in August.
Reports indicate Tidwell had been charged with third-degree burglary and second-degree theft of property.
Rushing said he was allowed to plead guilty to receiving stolen property after all of the items taken from the concession building were found in his house.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.