Madison man gets 20 years on meth charge
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 10:00 AM
A Madison man who admitted to conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine was sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday.
Drugs got hold of me, and I let them control my actions.
- Scott VanKuren at his sentencing hearing
Scott M. VanKuren, 29, pleaded guilty to the Class A felony and had his sentencing hearing in December. Judge Darrell Auxier announced the sentence Tuesday.
VanKuren will serve his sentence at the Branchville Correctional Facility and participate in the purposeful incarceration program. Upon completion of the program, he can petition the court to modify the sentence to community corrections.
Both VanKuren's attorney, Greg Morin, and Chief Deputy Prosecutor D.J. Mote requested VanKuren go through a purposeful incarceration to allow him to receive drug treatment.
Police arrested VanKuren and three other people in July 2012 after receiving a tip about a meth lab in a house on Kentucky Avenue.
Deborah Ellis, VanKuren's mother, testified that he moved around a lot when he was younger. His father had a drug problem and his grandfather, whom he lived with for several years, abandoned him for a woman, Ellis said.
When he came to Madison, Ellis said he was angry and fell in with the wrong crowd of people, including his co-defendant, Christopher Peelman.
"He got led down the wrong path," she said.
VanKuren said he started using drugs recreationally when he was 18 or 19 and then began using more frequently four or five years ago.
"Drugs got hold of me, and I let them control my actions," he said.
VanKuren had a minor criminal history and a low risk of reoffending, according to a community corrections evaluation. He had also been attending church and AA meetings in jail, which led to the lower sentence.
Twenty years is the minimum sentence allowed for an A felony under law.
But, VanKuren still received prison time because he lied to police during the investigation and lied to prosecutors during a deposition, Auxier said.
VanKuren said he lied because Peelman threatened VanKuren's family if he testified against him.
VanKuren said he has missed out on his daughter's birthday and family Christmases. During his 17 months of incarceration prior to his sentencing hearing, he thought about how much he hurt himself and his family and the mistakes he made.
"I can't ever get that back. All because of drugs. None of it was worth it. Not at all," he said.
The three co-defendants in the case were Peelman, Darci J. McFadden and Gerald "Buddy" Ritch.
Peelman went to trial and was found guilty of manufacturing meth and conspiracy to manufacture meth. He was later sentenced to 38 years in prison. McFadden pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture meth as a Class B felony and was sentenced to 10 years on community corrections. Ritch's case is still pending.