PITTSBURGH (TheBlaze/AP) — An 80-year-old man who twice crossed the country as a methamphetamine courier will avoid prison after cooperating with authorities in Pennsylvania.
Dominick Spickle of Sacramento, Calif., who twice carried crystal methamphetamine from California to his native Westmoreland County, faced 11 to 14 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, noted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
But was instead given home detention because of his age and failing health. U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti sentenced Spickle Friday to 74 days of time served plus a year of home confinement.
"I was just under stress and was afraid of losing everything I owned when I done this," following a robbery of his house that cost him his savings, Spickle said, noted the Post-Gazette.
More from the Post-Gazette:
A felony sex offender since a 1961 conviction who also served time a decade ago for gun possession, Dominick Spickle pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine.
In 2012, he had been crossing the country with his Chihuahua, Peanut, bringing highly pure crystal methamphetamine from a young relative to a dealer in his native Westmoreland County. He took responsibility for more than half a pound of the drug transported in two trips before an undercover state trooper busted him.
The judge called it perplexing that he would become involved in crime again, several decades after he was charged with gun and sex crimes.
His lawyer argued that his mental decline would make him vulnerable in prison.
The Post-Gazette noted that assistant federal public defender Marketa Sims said there was no need to deter similar people from committing his crime: "There's not going to be a floodgate of 80-year-old men getting involved in this activity."