FARMINGTON — A man from Strong will spend 30 days in jail for selling oxycodone, despite an argument from his attorney that he is too frail to be incarcerated.

Franklin County court Justice William Stokes sentenced Dave L. Melvin, 63, on Friday to three years in prison with all but 30 days suspended. He was fined $400 and given three years of probation.

A conviction on the drug trafficking carried up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. A plea agreement called for a six-month cap on the jail sentence.

Stokes also sentenced Melvin to 30 days, concurrently, for misdemeanor drug possession.

Melvin pleaded guilty to the charges in January, but his sentencing hearing was delayed after he was hit by a car and broke his hip in June in Farmington.

He used a walker in court Friday and sat beside his attorney, Thomas J. Carey.


Assistant District Attorney Claire Andrews said in January that if the case went to trial, Franklin County Detective Stephen Charles would testify that while he investigated a suspected heroin overdose death in 2014, Melvin admitted to selling his oxycodone.

Andrews argued initially that up to six months in jail would be appropriate given that heroin and oxycodone were involved in the case. She said Melvin had gone to a house and discovered a friend’s body, and instead of reporting the death, he cleared the house of heroin and other drug-related items. A relative of the person found the body a day and a half later, she said.

Andrews also said a number of texts were found on Melvin’s phone, including one on June 21 to another person that said, “we have to keep it together” and to delete all messages. There were also texts indicating that Melvin was selling his painkillers, she said.

She agreed Melvin’s health had deteriorated since January, but it doesn’t mean he shouldn’t spend some time in jail.

“I understand he has back issues,” she said, but if he doesn’t spend any time in jail that is saying anyone with back issues doesn’t have to go to jail.

After Melvin the June car accident, the sentencing agreement was changed to 30 days in jail, according to discussion in court.


Carey said Melvin was giving his painkillers to people who were dying of cancer and other illnesses, and he sold some to three or four people.

Melvin has no history of drug dealing, Carey said, and took responsibility for what he did. However, the attorney said, he was concerned about who was going to treat him in jail.

Andrews said she spoke to jail representatives and was told they could take care of him.

“What I did was stupid and I am very sorry,” Melvin told the court. “I know all criminals probably say that but I am very sorry.”

Stokes said he was reluctant to put someone who has deteriorating health in jail for a long period of time, but given the seriousness of the offense there needs to be some jail time.

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