A man convicted on a cocaine possession charge went AWOL during his Oktibbeha County Circuit Court trial on Thursday.
Peruzo Kalske “Ruzo” Duck’s trial on a charge of possession of between 2 and 10 grams of cocaine got under way before Judge Lee Howard Thursday morning, but during a recess from jury selection proceedings, Duck, 32, whose last known address was 123 Long St., skipped out on his trial.
District Attorney Forrest Allgood said that Duck told his attorney, Jeff Hosford, that he was going to make a phone call during the recess, but Duck never returned to the courtroom when proceedings resumed.
“He bailed,” Allgood said.
Howard issued a bench warrant for Duck’s arrest. As of late Thursday afternoon, Duck, who was previously out on bond, had still not been located. He is considered a fugitive, officials said.
Despite Duck’s absence, his trial continued Thursday with Hosford continuing to act on his client’s behalf. Duck was convicted after the jury deliberated for 16 minutes, and he will be sentenced upon being taken into custody.
Duck is described as a black male who is 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighs about 190 pounds. He is known to have a tattoo of a lady on his left arm.
Since Duck is now a convicted felon, the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department is spearheading the search for him. He is known to stay with friends and family within Starkville, officials said Thursday.
Anyone with information about Duck’s whereabouts is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Department at 323-2421, the Starkville Police Department at 323-4131 or Golden Triangle Crime Stoppers at 1-800-530-7151.
All Crime Stoppers tips are confidential and could result in reward of up to $1,000 for the caller if the tip leads to Duck’s arrest.
The charge for which Duck was convicted stems from his July 27, 2009, arrest by Starkville Police Department narcotics detectives during a traffic stop at the intersection of Strange Road and Hospital Road. At the time of Duck’s arrest, SPD Sgt. Steven Gant said Duck had been the target of a six-month drug trafficking investigation.
The cocaine possession charge against Duck stems from the discovery of between 15 and 20 grams of crack cocaine during the traffic stop on the date of his arrest, Gant said last year. Police also seized $233 in cash at the time of Duck’s arrest.
Guilty pleas made
In Circuit Court action Wednesday and Thursday, the following defendants maded guilty pleas and were sentenced or had prior suspended sentences, probation or post-release supervision revoked. They are listed by name, charges, sentence, fines and restitution (any similarities in name to other individuals in the community is purely coincidental):
• Christi Jo Harvey, possession of between .1 gram and 2 grams of methamphetamine, 5 years of non-adjudicated probation, $250 fine, $200 in restitution to the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department.
• Rochquel Lynn Johnson, uttering a forgery, 5 years of non-adjudicated probation, $200 fine, $67.41 in restitution.
• Donald Sidney, identity theft, receiving stolen property, 2 years in prison, $2,000 fine, $249.56 in restitution.
• Derrick Smith, three counts of burglary, 4 years in prison (recommended for Regimented Inmate Discipline program), $3,000 fine, $230 in restitution.
• Jana P. Haynes, felony false pretense, 1 year in the Intensive Supervision/House Arrest program followed by 2 years of probation, $500 fine, $348.06 in restitution.
• Brian Tamvakis, possession of between 250 and 500 grams of marijuana, sentencing set for Jan. 24.
• Katrina Cannon (also known as Katrina Harris), identity theft, felony false pretense, sentencing set for Jan. 24.
• Waneppe Halsey, identity theft, 5 years of non-adjudicated probation, $200 in restitution, $200 fine.
• Carlos Lane, grand larceny, sentencing set for Jan. 24.
• Randy Bell, grand larceny, 5 years of probation (on a 10-year suspended sentence), $500 fine, $5,800 in restitution.
• Arthur Tate, possession of less than .1 of cocaine, 4 years in prison (habitual offender), $200 fine.
• Illesha Wynter, two counts identity theft, fraudulent use of identification, 5 years of probation (on a 10-year suspended sentence), $300 fine, $7,822.66 in restitution.
More suspects arraigned
In Circuit Court action Wednesday and Thursday, the following suspects were arraigned on various Oktibbeha County Grand Jury indictments and are listed by name, charges, bond and date of next court action (any similarities in name to other individuals in the community is purely coincidental):
• Larry Pritchard, uttering counterfeit money, conspiracy, $20,000 bond, Jan. 26.
• Jennifer Henderson, embezzlement, $20,000 bond, Jan. 25.
• Sherron Turk (also known as Sherron Nolan), shoplifting, $5,000 bond, Jan. 26.
• Jason Davis, possession of a controlled substance.