LIVINGSTON COUNTY – Christopher Crippen, 40, a Dansville resident accused of dealing cocaine and then fleeing to Texas to escape prosecution, admitted to the more severe of two drug related charges in an afternoon court appearance on Monday. He pled guilty to Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, saying that he did possess cocaine with intent to sell after his extradition from Texas.
Crippen’s case has been complicated time and time again by delayed motions and conflicts with public defenders, including claims that his Seneca heritage should enable him to keep his long hair in state prison, as he contemplated taking his case to trial and risking a potential sentence of 20 years or more. Normally, his hair would be chopped if he went to a State Prison facility, where he has served three previous sentences for felony Forgery and Possession of a Forged Instrument convictions, but he has never before faced drug related charges.
Given his past of Forgery convictions, Crippen is being treated as a nonviolent second felony offender, so that his sentence could potentially be as much as 12 years in state prison, according to the Rockefeller Drug Law Reform Sentencing Chart. The offer from Assistant District Attorney Josh Tonra is 6 years of state prison for this charge.
Following his arrest for cocaine dealing allegations after an alleged sale to an undercover informant in April 2012, Crippen fled and was rearrested and extradited from Texas more than a year later, in May 2013. Crippen’s plea says nothing about this alleged sale, but since it is a lower level felony charge and could run concurrent with the time he serves for Criminal Possession, it may not increase his time in prison to plea to that charge.
Moving forward, it is unclear whether Crippen will plead to that original drug-related charge that caused him to flee to Texas, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance.
PHOTO CAPTION: Photo courtesy of LCSO.