Drug charges dismissed

HOLLIDAYSBURG – A Blair County jury this week found an Altoona man guilty on one count of conspiracy but not guilty on charges of delivery and possession of heroin.

The jury deliberated the case against Milton C. Brown, 50, of the 1200 block of 14th Avenue for almost five hours before returning the verdicts.

Blair County Judge Timothy M. Sullivan said sentencing will be May 31 for Brown, who remains incarcerated at the Blair County Prison.

Brown was charged by police with a heroin deal that occurred on March 26, 2012.

The police were working with an informant who said he could buy heroin from James Allan Garman, 31, of Altoona. Garman’s source for the heroin allegedly was Brown.

Garman was supposed to meet Brown at a 13th Street convenience store, where the heroin was to be exchanged for money.

Police used a surveillance tape from the store to show the jury that both Garman and Brown were in the store at the same time. However, Brown’s attorney, Douglas Keating, pointed out that the tape did not cover all parts of the store and if there was an exchange of heroin it was not recorded.

The jury was left with only Garman’s testimony that he received the heroin from Brown.

Keating argued that Garman’s testimony, as a co-defendant, under the law should be view with skepticism.

He said that Garman was a “corrupt and polluted source” in the eyes of the law.

The drug deal involved the sale of nine packets of heroin, police charged.

Brown was initially charged with possession of heroin, conspiracy to deliver heroin, delivery and criminal use of a communication facility.

The criminal use charge was dismissed before the case went to trial, Keating said.

Keating said the jury at one point reported to the judge that it could not make a decision. Sullivan sent the jurors back to the jury room for additional deliberations, and it took only a short time afterward for the jurors to return with what Keating called a “compromise verdict.”

Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.