Appeals Court affirms Grant County drug conviction

A Grant County man sentenced to prison on drug-related charges failed to convince the Arkansas Court of Appeals that the state did not produce enough evidence to warrant his conviction.

Kenneth Norwood was sentenced as an habitual offender to 15 years in prison after being convicted of possession of methamphetamine following his arrest on Oct. 31, 2012.

According to the court document, Sheriff”s Deputy Steven Poe stopped a truck Norwood was driving in the early morning hours because the truck had no tail lights. Norwood, who was driving on a suspended driver’s license, presented an Arkansas Identification Card, while a passenger in the truck, Michael Tilley, had a valid driver’s license.

The two men told Poe they knew how to fix the tail lights and Poe allowed them to step to the back of the truck, but for his safety, asked them to empty their pockets and place the contents on the hood of his patrol car.

Norwood laid a BC powder pack containing a brown powder on the hood and when Poe asked what the brown powder was, Norwood told the deputy it was a “ground-up” Viagra pill, but provided no prescription or other explanation.

Appeals Court Judge Rita Gruber said in the court ruling Wednesday that the deputy believed the brown powder was methamphetamine. Tilley placed a pipe on the car and said he used it to smoke methamphetamine.

Norwood was arrested for driving on a suspended license and for possession of methamphetamine, and the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory later confirmed that the brown powder was methamphetamine.

In the appeal, Norwood argued that there was no direct proof that he knowingly possessed methamphetamine, but Gruber said in the ruling that intent can seldom be proven by direct evidence and that it was up to the jury to determine the credibility of Norwood’s statements and the jury was also free to infer from the circumstances of the case that Norwood knew the powder was methamphetamine.