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Butler man convicted of drug charges

Tywann Windham

A jury deliberated for about an hour Tuesday before convicting a Butler man on all nine drug charges he was facing in a two-day trial in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

The jury of six men and six women found Tywann Raheem Windham, 37, guilty of six felony counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a felony count of conspiracy and misdemeanor charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

He remains free on the $100,000 bail he posted in April 2020. Judge Timothy F. McCune scheduled sentencing for early March.

Deliberations began in the afternoon after Windham’s estranged wife, Kari Lee Windham, 41, of Butler testified that both of them sold crack cocaine and heroin from her home for 11 years until police raided their home in March 2020.

Tywann Windham

Kari Lee was charged with three felony counts of possession with intent to deliver, a felony count of conspiracy and misdemeanor charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. She agreed to testify against Tywann in exchange for the Butler County district attorney’s office dropping the felony charges against her and not seeking a sentence that includes incarceration.

In closing arguments made before deliberations began, Public Defender Joseph Smith described Kari Lee as a “corrupt and polluted source” who is trying to shift all the blame to the defendant.

“She is using him as a shield to prosecution,” Smith said during his closing arguments. He asked the jury use “great skepticism” when considering her testimony.

Kari Lee testified that she and the defendant began selling drugs out of her home at 507 Virginia Ave. soon after they met in August 2009. Tywann did not testify.

“This is a dealing operation — a partnership,” Assistant District Attorney Benjamin Simon said during his closing arguments.

The Butler County Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at the home in March 2020 after a confidential informant entered the home and purchased two bricks of heroin containing 99 stamp bags with $400 in official funds. Tywann and Kari Lee were arrested following the raid.

Police seized drugs with an estimated street value of $4,000 in the raid, said Ryan Doctor, a Butler City police officer and task force member.

Kari Lee said Tywann usually didn’t help her pay the rent to her parents, who own the home. Instead, he used money generated by drug sales to “re-up” or buy more drugs to sell and buy clothes and shoes, she said.

“I loved him. He’s controlling. I thought I could change him,” she testified.

Kari Lee said she sold cocaine, but reluctantly sold heroin a few times. She said she didn’t want to sell heroin because she didn’t want to have an overdose death on her conscience.

She said she helped package the drugs, purchased plastic bags used for packaging and counted money when Tywann asked her to do so.

A lot of customers came to the house to buy drugs over the years, she said. On busy days, they brought in $6,000 to $10,000, she said.

Tywann would buy her gifts after they argued, but he would take them back when they argued again, she said. They broke up and got back together many times, she said. He moved out of her house and moved back in five or six times, she said.

“I love him. I still love him. It will take me some time not to love him. I was with him 10 years,” Kari Lee said.

She said they smoked marijuana, but didn’t use crack or heroin. She said she also used marijuana as an ingredient in cookies and used it to make oil that she then used to make other food.

Kari Lee said she agreed to marry Tywann in April 2020 — a month after the raid. They have been separated since November 2020. She said she asked him to marry her a number of times before the raid.

During cross examination, Kari Lee said she agreed to testify against Tywann because she didn’t want to lose her family. She said she has two children with mental health issues and her parents are ill. Her son lived with her and Tywann while they dealt drugs, she said.

Police raided her home in 2010 and 2011, and she was previously convicted of selling drugs, she said.