By AMANDA KIMBLE
STEPHENVILLE (September 14, 2016) – Just days after the mother of his unborn child was sent to prison for drug possession, a Stephenville man was indicted on a similar, unrelated charge.
Preston Allen Salyer, 22, was booked into the Erath County Jail on two drug charges on May 29.
He was indicted on only one count on Wednesday. He is charged by indictment with manufacture or delivery of 2 to 400 grams of methamphetamine. Records show he was arrested by Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol Division.
It is typical for such cases to be heard by a grand jury when lab testing confirms suspect substances are an illicit drug or controlled substance.
The second charge relates to a substance in penalty group 2 or 2A. Sources say the other substance was believed to be psychotropic mushrooms. It’s not currently clear when – or if – the second charge will be taken before the grand jury.
Salyer is currently on bond after posting $20,000 for each of the charges days of his arrest in May.
His co-defendant, Angel Richard Prado, 26, faces a similar fate. Prado was also indicted on a first-degree felony for manufacture or delivery of meth with the penalty group 2 charges pending.
Local jail records also show Salyer’s only other local arrest dates back to 2014, when he was arrested for driving under the influence as a minor.
Meanwhile, Prado is currently on 10-year felony probation for family violence with a previous conviction. That sentence was handed down in the 266th Judicial District Court less than a year ago.
Prado has remained in the county jail for almost three months, from the day of his arrest on May 29 until August 26, on a combined bond of more than $200,000.
Each man faces 5-99 years (or life) in prison and fine of up to $10,000 if found guilty of the first-degree felony.
It’s important to note that finding enough evidence to indict someone doesn’t mean they will be found guilty of an offense. Guilt must be determined in a court of law.
More on Salyer’s connection to earlier proceedings
Salyer was in the courtroom gallery Monday when his girlfriend and mother of his unborn child, Lita Mills, 22, was sent to a state jail for six months. She was sentenced on a probation violation on a case that dates back to February 2013.
The cases against Salyer and Mills are not related.
In court Monday, Mills admitting to violating the terms of the five-year probationary sentence. During the proceeding, Mills said she would not be comfortable naming the person who sold her drugs.
Meanwhile, her probation officer said she failed at least two drug tests; didn’t complete drug treatment programs as ordered; and stopped reporting to required meetings and paying fines in April.
Other violations by Mills included a drug-related arrest in June in Tarrant County, where a possession charge was later dropped and a tampering with evidence offense was reduced to a misdemeanor. As a result of that arrest, she was placed on probation in Tarrant County for a period of two years.
In her case, several defense witnesses said Mills had been drug free since before learning she was pregnant in July. During her testimony Kara Barnes, Mills’ mother, testified her daughter struggled with depression and drug addiction for years, but had been clean for months aside from the slipup in Tarrant County.
While Mills had not submitted to court-ordered drug testing since April, Barnes said drug tests were administered at home that showed her daughter to be clean.
Each of the defense witnesses, under questioning by Mills’ attorney Angie Hatley, asked District Judge Jason Cashon to spare her prison time.
Mills said she would accept a 10-year probationary sentence and report for weekly drug testing to avoid giving birth in jailhouse infirmary.
Mills also admitted to being an addict who had been given multiple opportunities to prove herself in the past, but pregnancy had given her a new lease on life and reason to remain drug free.
Cashon, who could have sentenced Mills to two years in prison, handed down a six-month term. The judge said the list of witnesses, including Barnes’ coworkers from a local drug treatment facility, convinced him Mills was no longer abusing drugs.
It should be noted the drug-treatment professionals were character witnesses who had not treated Mills. She did however successfully complete a 90-day program, according to her mother.
Prior to sentencing, Mills testified that the couple’s child is expected to be born in late February. While the six-month sentence means she could experience childbirth while incarcerated, Cashon said Mills would be given credit for any jail time previously served on the case.
According to Erath County Jail records, Salyer has not been arrested since the May incident and learning of his pending parenthood. Mills has also avoided new charges locally.
During Mills’ sentencing hearing, Barnes said her daughter had begged God to give her a reason to live, and the unborn child was the answer to those prayers. She also said her daughter planned to marry Salyer so the couple could create a life together.
Meanwhile, in a comment on The Flash Facebook page, Barnes called Salyer her daughter’s “gift” and said the unborn child will have the “best parents in the world.”
It is not known at this time when the Salyer case will be presented in the 266th Judicial District Court.
Readers can find the full list of indictments on The Flash, where they will soon be posted.