Appeals court upholds 99-year prison sentence for East Texas woman with drug charges

Crime & Public Safety

UPSHUR COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – An appeals court upheld a 99-year prison sentence for an East Texas woman after she pleaded guilty to a drug-related felony.

39-year-old Felisha Diane Williams pleaded guilty last year to possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. In her plea, she turned down the state’s offer of a 20-year sentence and opted for a jury to decide her punishment.

The jury returned a verdict in an hour and a half, and Williams was sentenced to 99 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division and immediately taken back into custody of the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department.

In May 2018, Williams was a passenger in a car that was stopped for displaying multiple registrations and mismatched license plates.

The driver allowed officers to search the vehicle. Officials say that behind the center console, just a few inches away from where Williams had been sitting, officers discovered a small case containing a zip-lock bag. Inside the bag, officers located several small baggies and methamphetamine.

While she was being transferred to the Upshur County Jail, Williams reportedly indicated to officers that she had more methamphetamine on her person. Upon arrival at the jail, the staff located roughly seven grams of methamphetamine and 16 small baggies. Police say the small baggies are commonly used in drug trafficking.

According to information presented during the trial, the district attorney presented witnesses who testified that Williams had previous felony convictions, and she was on parole at the time of her arrest.

In addition to that, Williams’ parole officer testified that she had not lived up to the terms of her parole by failing to obtain gainful employment and refusing to attend drug treatment meetings.

Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd said that the jury only sent out one question while deliberating: “What is the difference between 99 years and life?”

“The people of Upshur County spoke loudly today, dealing poison to our citizens will not be tolerated,” Byrd said.

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