GOSHEN — An Elkhart man facing multiple charges was convicted Tuesday afternoon at Circuit Court of three counts of child neglect and two counts of dealing in cocaine.
A trial jury appointed for Hervey Clanton’s case deliberated for less than 30 minutes before returning with the verdict.
Clanton, 25, of 921 Madison St., Elkhart, was charged with two counts of dealing in cocaine, three counts of neglect of a dependent and one count of possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.
He was arrested June 13, 2012, at 1212 Midtown Court, Apt. 84, during a search warrant, following a short-term investigation by the Elkhart Police Department’s Drug Unit.
On Tuesday afternoon, Clanton admitted to the count of possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon before both parties’ final arguments. Clanton was found guilty on all of the other five counts.
On Monday, jury selection was held in the morning and lasted until about 2 p.m. It was followed briefly by opening arguments. Two witnesses, Detective Jeff Eaton and a source who acted undercover when the Elkhart Drug Unit conducted controlled purchases.
During trial, the jury heard testimony from four members of the Elkhart Police Department’s Drug Unit, a source working undercover who made controlled purchases of cocaine and a woman with whom Clanton has three children in common.
Chelsey Nusbaum, 25, was arrested the same day as Clanton during the search warrant. She recently pleaded guilty to two counts of child neglect and is scheduled for her sentencing hearing Feb. 21. She was released after her plea hearing she had already served her possible sentence through credit time in jail.
During testimony, Nusbaum denied knowing anything about Clanton’s drug activity. She told the court Clanton did not live with her at the time, but he sometimes stayed over to sleep and he would look after their children.
The jury also saw videos of two controlled purchases conducted by the police department’s Drug Unit on May 29 and June 6, 2012, as well as video of an attempted controlled purchase, where they could see Clanton answering the door of the apartment that was later searched.
Other evidence presented to the jury included a handgun, scales and a glass bong, all of which were collected from the search warrant. According to the officers who testified, the handgun was loaded and was found on the second shelf of a closet, within reach of at least the oldest of three children who lived in the residence.
Clanton stated Monday evening that he wished to represent himself. After signing a waiver of attorney and a demand to proceed pro se, he was appointed a standby defender.
Tuesday morning, however, Clanton told the court he wanted his attorney to be reinstated. His attorney, public defender Peter Todd, stepped back in to defend him.