After deliberating just 45 minutes Monday, a Jefferson County Circuit Court jury found a Pine Bluff man guilty of drug and weapons charges.
Rogrick Adway, 19, was the first of two defendants to stand trial following an investigation into alleged drug activity in the city in June 2017.
Adway was charged with simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, possession of a controlled substance with purpose to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia and misdemeanor fleeing on foot.
The jury found him guilty on all charges.
In his closing argument, Deputy Prosecutor Bryan Achorn said that by running around with guns and drugs to sell, Adway’s actions contributed to an increase in criminal activity. He urged the 12 members of the jury to speak for the community and send the message that conduct such as Adway’s will not be accepted or tolerated in Pine Bluff. Achorn and Deputy Prosecutor Carol Billings represented the state during the one-day trial.
Adway was represented by Attorney Tommy Brown.
Testimony at the trial revealed that detectives had been conducting surveillance at the Pineywoods Apartments after reports of alleged drug sales from a unit there. They saw Adway and a co-defendant leave an apartment and get into a vehicle. Adway was carrying a brown and black backpack at the time. After the vehicle left the apartments, officers attempted a traffic stop and saw the vehicle heading toward the back gate of the complex, where there was a small opening.
Adway jumped out and ran toward the gate with the backpack on his back, and Pine Bluff Detective Richard McCorvy chased him behind Building 22 and to an air conditioning unit; when Adway left the air conditioning unit, he didn’t have the backpack. McCorvy continued to chase Adway until he caught him at a stairwell.
After another detective took custody of Adway, McCorvy went back behind Building 22 and located the backpack, which contained a .38-caliber handgun, a nine-millimeter handgun, several sandwich bags, an identification card for Adway, a box and bag of nine-millimeter ammunition and two jars, one of which contained three plastic bags of a green vegetable substance believed to be marijuana.
The substance tested positive for THC and weighed a total of 25.1 grams.
Adway testified in his own defense and said he didn’t know anything about the guns or drugs in the backpack and said his co-defendant must have put them there.
After finding Adway guilty on all counts, the jury was out just 20 minutes before setting his punishment at 15 years for simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, six years each for possession of a controlled substance with purpose to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia and one year in the county jail for misdemeanor fleeing, with the sentences to run concurrently, meaning at the same time.
Circuit Judge Jodi Raines Dennis followed the jury’s decision and sentenced Adway, who was taken to the adult detention center, where he will be held until a bed is available in prison.
Adway’s co-defendant, Jose Cirino, is scheduled for trial next week.