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First 'Not In My Backyard' drug trial leads to tough prison sentence

January 18, 2018 News Extra

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Thomas L. Tillman

A Philadelphia man, convicted of drug trafficking near Butler’s police station, was handed a lengthy state prison sentence in Butler County Court Thursday.

Thomas L. Tillman, 30, was sentenced to a total of 4 to 15 years in a state correctional facility by Judge Timothy McCune, who returned to the criminal court bench for this special sentencing after taking over family court responsibilities.

After the proceeding, District Attorney Richard Goldinger said he was happy with the sentence, as it “sends a message.”

“This is really the first drug case that has gone to trial since we implemented the ‘Not In My Backyard’ initiative,” he said. “We have had several pleas, but this was our first jury conviction under that. The message is that in these types of drug cases, we will offer pleas to state time, but if you want to take it to trial, you will do worse.”

Tillman was convicted during a jury trial on Dec. 12 of two felony counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance — heroin and crack cocaine — and conspiracy to commit possession with intent to deliver, two misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of possession of marijuana.

The sentence also included he pay court costs and $400 in fines.

Goldinger sought top guidelines for the sentencing with all counts running consecutively, for a total of nearly 8 years to 15 years, saying “I believe the top guidelines are appropriate” because of the weight of the drugs — 13.2 grams for the heroin and 5.7 grams for the crack cocaine — as well as the heroin being mixed with fentanyl, which “is a killer in our community at this point.”

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