Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

July 26, 2013

Sentencings in theft ring case reset

Carrie Stambaugh
The Independent

ASHLAND — Sentencing hearings for two Ashland men convicted earlier this year of being part of a conspiracy to traffic in stolen motorcycles have been pushed back by two weeks.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove on Thursday entered an order granting a motion by the attorney for one of the defendants for a brief continuance of the proceedings.

Garis Pruitt, of Catlettsburg, who represents Mark Justice, requested the delay to allow him and the U.S. Probation Office to “address and possibly resolve” the defendant’s objections to Justice’s pre-sentencing report.

Sentencings for Justice and his co-defendant, Richard “Dickie” Meade, had been scheduled for Wednesday. Van Tatenhove reschedulted them for 2:30 p.m. Aug. 14 in London.

Justice, 52, and Meade, 66, both of Ashland, were convicted in March of money-laundering, conspiracy and possessing a motor vehicle with an obscured identification number with intent to sell. Both could be sentenced up to 20 years in prison, but application of federal sentencing guidelines is likely to result in them receiving far shorter terms.

Meade’s attorneys, Michael Curtis of Ashland and Katherine MacPherson of Grand Rapids, Mich., have filed a motion requesting their client be allowed to remain free on bond pending the outcome of the appeal of his conviction to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. Van Tatenhove hasn’t ruled on that.

Six other defendants pleaded guilty in the case, which involved the theft of motorcycles from biker rallies in Florida, South Carolina and South Dakota. The bikes were transported to Kentucky, stripped of parts that contained identifying numbers and sold as “rebuilt” or kit bikes.

The six who admitted involvement in the conspiracy received prison terms ranging from eight months to 10 years. Charges were dismissed against one defendant and another, George Ferguson of Ashland, was tried along with Meade and Justice in February and March and was acquitted.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.