1 defendant, 2 trials in 2 days, 2 convictions

Guilty verdicts were returned this week against a repeat felon who had back-to-back trials on drug and fleeing law enforcement charges.

Adrian James Wood, 45, of Panama City, was found guilty Tuesday of felony Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer (Siren and Lights Activated) and Driving with a Suspended License from an April 24 arrest. Wednesday he was found guilty of Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Paraphernalia from a March 23 arrest. He testified in his own defense in both trials.

Adrian James Wood

Circuit Court Judge Brantley Clark presided over both cases. Prosecutor Joshua James presented the Possession of Methamphetamine case. Judge Clark sentenced the defendant to the maximum of 5 years in prison.

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Sentencing on the Fleeing and Attempting to Elude conviction was set for Jan. 18 because Prosecutor Jennifer Lieb is seeking to have the defendant designated as a Habitual Felony Offender, based on his 13 previous felony convictions. If that status is granted, the defendant’s potential sentence would be enhanced from a maximum of 5 years to up to 10 years in prison.

Court records show that the defendant has 3 previous convictions for Resisting an Officer with Violence and Aggravated Battery on an Officer, 2 convictions for Battery on an Officer and Possession of a Controlled Substance, and 1 conviction each for Fleeing and Attempting to Elude, Aggravated Battery on a Pregnant Person and Felony Criminal Mischief.

Department of Corrections records indicate the defendant has served four previous prison terms.

“It is unusual for one defendant to have two trials in one week, but he invoked his right to a speedy trial and that is what we gave him,” said Lieb, whose jury returned a verdict in about 20 minutes. “A speedy trial brought speedy justice in this case.”

James, whose jury took about an hour to reach a guilty verdict, noted that the defendant’s two trials this week were for offenses committed within 32 days of each other earlier this year. They also were committed less than two years after he was released from prison in July, 2020.

Basford thanked the Bay County Sheriff’s Office for its work on both arrests as well as prosecutors for their handling and quick resolution to the cases.

For more information, contact Mike Cazalas at mike.cazalas@sa14.fl.gov, or call 850-381-7454 or call 850-381-7454.