Man changes plea in drug case

By Angel Wyrwas

Clayton Sears, 28, changed his plea to guilty in front of District Court Judge Nickolas Murnion this past Tuesday. Sears appeared in court from the Yellowstone County Detention Center via the Judicial Video Network.

Earlier this year, Sears was charged with one count of felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs, one count misdemeanor criminal possession of dangerous drugs, one count misdemeanor criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of misdemeanor criminal destruction of or tampering with communication device. The charges stem from an incident that took place in July of 2016.

Court documents state that on July 16  Deputy Wells received a call from dispatch and was alerted to a family dispute/verbal argument by Steve Sears, who was requesting law enforcement. Deputy Wells responded to the call, arriving at 83 School House Road at approximately 8:20 p.m.

Steve Sears explained that he and his wife were having an argument with their son, Clayton, and they no longer wanted him to stay in the trailer on their property. The affidavit also states that Marcia was afraid the defendant was going to harm her or Steve.

While the deputy was interviewing the defendant, he was unable to hold still, was pacing back and forth and visibly sweating, exhibiting signs of drug use. At the time of the incident, the defendant was already on probation for theft.

Undersheriff Eisele contacted the defendant’s probation officer who indicated there was probable cause to search the vehicle Sears had been driving and the camper where he was living. During the search, officers found a glass pipe and ziplock bag containing residue that the Montana Forensic Science Division later determined to be methamphetamine.

Court documents state that Steve and Marcia Sears told Deputy Wells and Undersheriff Eisele that the defendant was addicted to drugs for years and they were trying to help him get his life back on track but he continued to screw up.

Sears entered a guilty plea for counts one, two and four. Per a non binding plea agreement with the State, count three was dismissed. The State will recommend the defendant be sentenced to five years with the Department of Corrections and a $1000 fine for criminal possession of dangerous drugs. A sentencing date was set for October 24.