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|Skipper a free man|
Convicted drug dealer James Skipper, 43, is a free man.
He was released from the Avoyelles Correctional Facility in Cottonport last week after his 25-year prison sentence was reduced by Judge Leo Boothe on August 13.
Boothe reduced Skipper's sentenced to 12 years and gave him credit for time served following testimony that Skipper was a "pawn" of others when he turned down a five-year plea deal offered by Dist. Atty. John Johnson in 2002.
Skipper walked out of prison on Thursday, August 21. He is on probation.
On April 11, 2002, a parish petit jury found Skipper, in his second felony offense, guilty of three counts of distribution of cocaine and one count of intent to distribute. Following Skipper's conviction, Judge Boothe initially sentenced Skipper to 80 years -- 25 years on each count of distribution of cocaine, and five years on attempted possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
On Feb. 12, 2003, the sentence was reduced to 25 years.
Both Dist. Atty. John Johnson and Judge Boothe said Skipper's testimony cleared up a mystery as to why Skipper turned down a five-year plea bargain when his trial was beginning on April 8, 2002.
In that trial, it was pointed out by the prosecution that Skipper had previously served nine years in federal prison in Texas for distribution of cocaine.
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