DOBSON — Joseph Craig Tilley made a lot of changes in the two-year gap between selling meth to undercover officers and when he was charged with the crime.
The Cana, Virginia, resident met and married his wife, returned to church, and got clean.
“It was truly a watershed moment,”said David White, who represented Tilley in a Superior Court plea hearing on Sept. 7.
“He had a true conversion in his life.”
According to court documents, Tilly was charged in 2014 for drug sales that had occurred on Aug. 28 and Sept. 6, 2012.
White informed the court that Tilley, 51, of Indian Fork Road, discovered warrants had been issued from a television news announcement and immediately turned himself in to the Surry County Sheriff’s Office.
The News reported in February 2014 that Tilley had been charged in connection with Operation Manic Monday, a drug sweep that, following months of undercover investigation, targeted 34 suspects on 173 charges.
Assistant District Attorney Tim Watson stated in court that State Bureau of Investigation crime lab analysis showed that 1.29 grams and 0.29 grams of methamphetamine had been sold to the undercover agents.
Tilley pleaded guilty on Wednesday to two counts each of sale of methamphetamine, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver methamphetamine and maintaining a drug vehicle or dwelling.
Two counts of manufacture of a schedule II controlled substance were dismissed through a plea agreement with the District Attorney’s office.
Presiding Judge Eric Morgan gave Tilley consecutive sentences of 14 to 26 months, which were suspended pending the successful completion of 30 months supervised probation.
He also ordered the defendant to complete 24 hours of community service.
White, noting that his client has always owned his guilt in the matter, said Tilley now owns a “pickers” type second-hand store.
When folks come in to sell an item, “he will pray with those people to try to get them to change their life like he’s changed his life,” White said, adding “In the 36 years I’ve practiced law it’s probably the biggest change in a human being I’ve ever seen.”
Tilley spoke to the judge before sentencing, reiterating many of the points made by his attorney.
“I went back to God,” the defendant said. “He didn’t leave me, I left him.”
Other matters of the court addressed this term included:
• Thomas Edward Graybeal, 52, of Phillip Branch, Mount Airy, pleaded guilty to seven counts of obtain property by false pretense, which is a class F felony, and one count of making a false report to a police station, a class 2 misdemeanor. During the Sept. 6 hearing Graybeal was given a suspended six- to 17- month sentence and placed on supervised probation for 24 months. He was also ordered to complete 24 hours of community service within 60 days and to pay $914.30 in restitution to the State Employees’ Credit Union.
• On Sept. 6, Yancey Willis Bond, of Siloam Ararat, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and guilty to felony larceny and breaking or entering. He was given an intermediate sentence that included 45 days credit for time served on the charge and a suspended sentence of 8 to 19 months pending the successful completion of a 30-month term of supervised probation.
• Carl Crawford Preston II, 28, of Longfellow Street, Greensboro, pleaded guilty to breaking and or entering, injury to real property, injury to personal property and misdemeanor larceny in a Sept. 9 hearing. A felony conspiracy charge was dismissed through a plea agreement. Crawford was given an 11- to 23- month sentence which was suspended pending the successful completion of 30 months of supervised probation. He was additionally ordered to pay $1080 in restitution to U.S. Cellular.
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.