Kentucky man sentenced to four years in prison on drug charge

Russell Christy

Russell Christy

A Kentucky man considered to be a serious violent felon, charged with illegal possession of firearms and methamphetamine in Greene County, has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Russell Christy, now 63, from Hazard, Kentucky, was facing two criminal cases. 

On Christmas Eve in 2016, he ran off the road, traveled through a field, crashed into a fence in Greene County and wound up in jail on a drug charge. While there, officers said they found guns and more drugs in his motel room. Under Indiana law, his past conviction for armed robbery meant he was not supposed to have firearms. One of his cases was expected to go to trial but in early June, he signed a negotiated plea agreement and was scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday, July 31.

Christy was out on bond, and he didn’t show up for his change of plea and sentencing hearing, so on July 31, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

In his first case, he was charged with possession of methamphetamine, a Level 6 felony, and possession of paraphernalia, a Class C misdemeanor, after he was arrested by Jasonville Police Officer Dustin Cain.

Officer Cain worked a crash on December 24, 2016, where a silver sports car had run off the highway south of Shanklin Street in Jasonville and gone through a field and up an embankment before going through a hot-wired fence. Cain said Christy was standing outside the vehicle when he arrived on the scene.

Christy allegedly said he lived in Indianapolis, had rented the car four days earlier, was in the county to go hunting, and had swerved to miss a deer. But as the two were walking around the vehicle, in plain view on the floorboard of the car, the officer saw a glass smoking device with a residue that field-tested positive for methamphetamine.

Christy spent Christmas in the Greene County Jail. A couple of days later, Christy made a phone call from the jail to an unknown male. All phone calls at the jail are recorded and periodically monitored. A jail officer had monitored the call and reported it to Greene County Sheriff’s Detective Shawn Cullison.

Det. Cullison listened to the call and explained in a probable cause affidavit that Christy had told the male he had firearms and a medicine bag in a motel room and “you need to get down to the motel and get my stuff out of there.”

A records check revealed Christy’s criminal history involved a past conviction for armed robbery in Indianapolis. That is a serious violent felony so Christy should not be in possession of firearms.

Before the unknown male made it to the motel, Det. Cullison had obtained a search warrant and Cullison, GCSD Deputy Blake McCamey and Indiana State Police Troopers Richard Klun and Randy VanArsdale got there first.

Cullison reported that in Christy’s room at the Allen Motel in Linton, they found a muzzleloader with no serial number, a Remington rifle,  Mossberg shotgun, 13 boxes of ammunition for the firearms plus illegal substances.

The second case was filed, charging Christy with unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon - a Level 4 felony, possession of methamphetamine - a Level 5 felony, and possession of marijuana - a Class B misdemeanor.

After he was a no-show at the sentencing and the warrant issued, Christy was again arrested and booked back in to the Greene County Jail on Friday, August 3 and a new date for sentencing was scheduled.

When Christy appeared in Greene Superior Court last Thursday, he changed his plea and was convicted of possession of methamphetamine, a Level 5 felony, in the first case. The second case and all other counts were dismissed.

Christy was sentenced to four years in the Indiana Department of Correction. He was given credit for 65 days already served.