ANDERSON — Robert P. Shorter did not attend his trial proceedings, but that did not stop a jury from convicting him of felony drug dealing and identity deception on Wednesday.

Shorter, 40, of Westland, Michigan, was convicted of Level 2 felony dealing in methamphetamine, at least 10 grams, two counts of Level 3 felony dealing in a narcotic, Level 6 felony identity deception, Level 3 felony dealing in methamphetamine and Class B misdemeanor habitual offender.

Shorter is now facing a sentence of between 10 to 30 years in prison following the jury’s conviction, according to officials. Sentencing was set for 9 a.m. Oct. 15 in Madison Circuit Court 4 before Judge David A. Happe.

While Shorter attended jury selection proceedings, he was absent from the trial proceedings. After the jury selection, defense attorney David Alger requested a mistrial because there were no black jury members.

Judge Happe denied the motion.

On July 18, 2018, a confidential informant purchased 6.8 grams of a substance that later field tested positive for heroin from Shorter. He was arrested five days later and officers recovered 110 grams methamphetamine and 7 grams of a substance that field tested positive for heroin.

In addition to the drug charges, Shorter used another man’s identification when he was arrested. Authorities learned Shorter’s true identity after he was fingerprinted.

Deputy prosecutors Mary Hutchison and Samantha Green reminded jurors during closing arguments they had both heard and seen Shorter on video and audio surveillance during controlled drug purchases.

During closing arguments Hutchison said Shorter was guilty as charged and there was “no shadow of doubt” of his guilt.

Alger told jurors they had to remember his client was innocent until proven guilty and the state had a burden of proof – beyond a reasonable doubt – that Shorter committed the crimes.

In closing arguments, Alger said the state needed to build a bridge to cross a stream, not jump a stream when it came to its evidence. He also shared a parable involving the importance of using the right amount of concrete and sand while he worked his first job as a hod carrier in order for a building to stand the test of time.

“That’s what I’m hearing today,” Alger told jurors before the guilty verdict. “Too much sand and not enough concrete.”

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