PORTLAND, Maine — A Bath man who refused to share a cell with a black man and flooded his cell at the Cumberland County Jail while being held on federal drug and gun charges was sentenced Thursday to nearly 11 years in prison.
John Byrd III, 23, pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, use of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime and possession of a firearm by an individual subject to a protection order.
Because of Byrd's repeated violation of the jail's rules, U.S. District Judge George Singal did not impose the standard lesser sentence that applies when a defendant pleads guilty, Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Wolff said Thursday.
Under the federal sentencing guidelines, Byrd would have faced two to 3 and 1/2 fewer years behind bars if the judge had not denied the defendant's acceptance of responsibility.
Wolff recommended that Singal deny Byrd the lesser sentence that is imposed in a majority of federal cases in which a defendant pleads guilty. Attached to his sentencing memorandum, the federal prosecutor filed 20 pages of documents that outlined Byrd's refusals to cooperate with jail personnel. The end result was that Byrd was moved from the medium to the maximum security section of the jail.
Byrd faced up to 10 years on the conspiracy and gun possession charges. The using a firearm during a drug trafficking crime count carried a mandatory consecutive minimum of seven years to a maximum of life in prison.
Singal sentenced Byrd to three years and 10 months in prison on the drug charge and an additional seven years on the gun charge as it related to the drug conspiracy.