ANDERSON — An Anderson man faces prison time, but a considerably smaller sentence after being found not guilty on one charge in a three-part drug trial.
In the first phase of the trial, Kenneth Kemp, 33, was convicted of two counts of dealing marijuana and single counts of maintaining a common nuisance and possession of marijuana on Friday. During jury deliberations for Phase 2, which was a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, Kemp also pleaded guilty to Phase 3, a sentence-enhancing habitual substance offender charge. An agreement on Phase 3 capped Kemp's sentence enlargement at four years.
On Tuesday, the jury exonerated Kemp on the handgun charge, a Class B felony, saving him up to 20 years of prison time. As it is, Kemp is looking at a maximum sentence of eight years. Deputy prosecutor Dan Kopp, who tried the case against Kemp, said he intends to recommend the maximum sentence, considering Kemp's felony-riddled history. Madison Circuit Court 6 Judge Dennis Carroll will determine the sentence on April 7.
"I feel good about the way the case turned out," said defense attorney Mark Maynard, who represented Kemp. "I appreciate the jury for holding the state to its burden of proof."
The charges against Kemp stem from an arrest in September 2012. Four co-defendants in the case have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced.
According to the probable cause affidavit, while drug task force detectives were investigating another case on Sept. 23, 2012, they smelled the strong odor of marijuana coming from two cars in the 2300 block of Morton Street. After obtaining search warrants, they found two pounds of marijuana in each vehicle.
The police tracked the marijuana to Kemp, who had allegedly been running a drug house out of his home on Morton Street along with his girlfriend, Lyncia Hinson. When detectives searched the home, they found a strong smell of marijuana, remnants of the drug and a Ruger LC9 handgun. Large amounts of cash also were found on Kemp and Hinson.