A man who informed police of an alleged murder-for-hire plot related to his case was sentenced Tuesday to six months in jail.
James E. Corder, 43, of Macksburg, also received a fine of $5,000 and was placed on community control for the next five years.
He was convicted in October in Washington County Common Pleas Court of two counts of fourth-degree felony aggravated trafficking in drugs. Prosecutors alleged Corder gave a prescription pill to a confidential informant.
On the eve of the trial, Corder approached police and said his friend, Steven Medaris, 20, offered to kill the investigating officer and the two informants for $15,000.
The sheriff's office said Medaris was arrested at Corder's residence with bomb-making diagrams. He is being held in the Washington County Jail on $15,000 bond awaiting a possible indictment.
Police and prosecutors said Corder recorded his conversation with Medaris and attempted to use the evidence against Medaris to negotiate a plea deal in his drug trafficking case.
However, Assistant Washington County Prosecutor Susan Vessels said no plea deal could be arranged because that option had already been taken off the table.
Vessels said the prosecutor's office's policy is to not offer a plea deal if a defendant insists on hearing wire recordings of confidential informants. Defense attorneys can listen to the recordings but they are withheld from the defendant when possible, to keep the individual from being identified by their voice, she said.
If the defendant insists, however, it is their legal right to hear them. In that case, though, the office withdraws any plea deals, Vessels said.
"Beginning in July of this year, there was no choice but to try the case or have the defendant plead as charged," she said.
Corder's attorney signed an affidavit saying that was understood.
Vessels said those steps are taken to protect the informants, pointing to the alleged threats by Medaris as an example of why such a policy is needed.
"Certainly in this case we had problems," she said. "We had death threats for the confidential informants, we had death threats to the investigating officer."
Vessels noted that when a case comes to trial, informants may have to testify in court.
Corder's case stems from a January 2008 incident in which he allegedly was approached by an undercover officer and confidential informants for the purchase of cocaine. According to court documents, Corder said he had no cocaine, but offered one of the informants a 30-milligram tablet of Adderrall, a Schedule II drug.
As a result, Corder was charged with third-degree felony trafficking in drugs. He faced up to five years in prison, if convicted. The charges were amended to two counts of fourth-degree felony aggravated trafficking in drugs, for which a jury found Corder guilty. He was found not guilty of attempted trafficking in cocaine.
Corder's attorney, George Cosenza said Corder gave a pill to a woman who claimed she was sick. He said jail or prison was not warranted in the case.
Corder said "things happen" and that he was sorry for the incident.
"I'm not a drug dealer. I don't sell drugs," he said.
Evan Bevins contributed.