GOSHEN — An Elkhart man convicted of multiple counts, including dealing in cocaine and neglect of a dependent, was sentenced to 60 years in prison on Thursday, March 29, at the Elkhart Circuit Court.
Hervey Clanton Jr., 25, was found guilty after a two-day jury trial on Jan. 28.
Clanton was charged with two counts of dealing in cocaine, both Class A felonies; three counts of neglect of a dependent; and one count of possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.
Circuit Court Judge Terry Shewmaker sentenced Clanton to 45 years in prison for each count of dealing in cocaine, with the sentences running concurrently. He also sentenced Clanton to 15 years in prison, which would run consecutively to the 45 years imposed, for one count of possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. Additionally, he sentenced Clanton to six years in prison for each count of neglect of a dependent. The six-year sentencing will run concurrently with the 15-year sentence.
Clanton was arrested June 13, 2012, at 1212 Midtown Court, Apt. 84, following a short-term drug investigation and during a search warrant served by the Elkhart Police Department Drug Unit.
While serving the warrant, police found $300 in cash underneath the sheets of a baby’s crib, white powdery substance that tested positive for cocaine in a closet, and a loaded handgun inside a Marvin the Martian backpack that was tucked in a closet.
The bag had been placed in a closet on the second shelf from the bottom and three feet from the ground behind children’s clothes. The bag was within reach of all three children — ages 1, 4 and 7 — who lived in the residence, according to the probable cause affidavit.
During the sentencing hearing, Clanton’s attorney, Peter Todd, said his client had always been supportive of his children and that he accepted responsibility of the danger he exposed his children to by pleading guilty to the charge of possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.
However, deputy prosecutor Don Pitzer reminded the court that the gun was found to be within reach of the children who lived in the house.
Clanton told the court he plans to seek help while he serves time in prison.
“I had a bad childhood,” he said. “Growing up I didn’t have anyone to guide me or put me on the right track.”
Todd said Clanton anticipates to appeal his sentencing and conviction.