Man who smeared feces in Duluth court pleads guilty to drugs
An especially disgusting Duluth drug case came to a close Friday with a Chicago man pleading guilty and apologizing to the community. Vandale Amos Willis, 31, pleaded guilty to a second-degree controlled substance crime after admitting to selling...
An especially disgusting Duluth drug case came to a close Friday with a Chicago man pleading guilty and apologizing to the community.
Vandale Amos Willis, 31, pleaded guilty to a second-degree controlled substance crime after admitting to selling crack cocaine to an informant working for Duluth police and the Lake Superior Drug and Gang Task Force in 2006. He agreed not to appeal the case further.
Willis brought one day of his August 2006 trial to a notorious close when he smeared his own feces on a table and chair and threw some on the floor. He fired his public defender before a judge found him guilty of the three crimes he was charged with.
On Friday a contrite Willis spoke to Judge Sally Tarnowski before being sentenced in St. Louis County District Court.
"I'd just like to apologize to the court and to the community for my bad behavior and the bad decision that I made,'' he said. "I'm trying my best to stay out of trouble and work for a living from now on. ... I'm going to school to be a chef.''
Willis was convicted in 2006 of the importation of a controlled substance across state borders, first-degree possession of cocaine with intent to sell and first-degree possession of cocaine.
But the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled in May that a lab report used to help determine Willis' guilt should not have been admitted as evidence because the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension analyst who prepared the report didn't testify at trial. Consequently, Willis was deprived of his right to confront the witness against him.
The three-judge panel said that Willis' conviction should be reversed and that he be given a new trial.
Instead, on Friday Willis pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and received a guideline 53-month prison sentence. Because he already has served 998 days in prison or jail, he will only have to serve about 50 more days behind bars.
When Duluth police arrested Willis in June of 2006 he said he and another man traveled from Chicago to Duluth by bus and expected to make about $5,000 selling the 2 ounces of crack cocaine they transported. The crack cocaine was found in Willis' buttocks.