DANSVILLE – After years of struggling with drug addiction and multiple drug-related convictions, Dansville resident Christopher Crippen, 39, is now facing a high-stakes plea deal from Livingston County District Attorney Greg McCaffrey’s office that could land Crippen in state prison for eight years.
Crippen’s latest relationship with the law has been steadily disintegrating since 2012. He was busted by the Livingston County Drug Task Force for allegedly selling drugs to undercover police, then suddenly fled to Texas in an apparent desperate attempt to escape prosecution at the Livingston County Courthouse. Police recaptured Crippen and brought him back to Livingston County, where he was again arrested for illegally possessing narcotics. In court on Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney Josh Tonra formally offered a plea deal to Crippen that could finally send him not to Livingston County Jail, but to state prison with the New York State Department of Corrections.
“We are making this offer for the defendant to consider,” said Tonra during Crippen’s disposition. “We would like to remind the defendant that if this matter goes to trial, he is eligible for treatment as a persistent felony offender, and we will proceed accordingly.”
If Crippen is subject to “persistent felon treatment,” the limitations to his possible sentence would change significantly. Each of his three charges, criminal sale of a controlled substance, bail jumping, and criminal possession of a narcotic drug, would be much more severe. However, if he does go to trial and the DA cannot prove that Crippen committed any or all of these crimes, he will be acquitted of all charges, and he will go free.
Crippen’s case has been briefly adjourned until his next scheduled court appearance. In the meantime, Crippen will have to decide whether he wants to take the deal and spend the next eight years in state prison, or take his case to trial and risk a much more severe offer from the DA.
All eyes are on Crippen as he makes his decision.
Livingston County DA Greg McCaffrey has invested a great deal of his resources into the Drug Task Force, and his prosecutions of the drug dealers it catches in the act are accordingly severe.
PHOTO CAPTION: Image courtesy of LSCO.