Cindy Stewart sentenced to six years

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter

In less than a half hour of courtroom testimony and deliberation, Judge Frank Fuhr ruled to sentence Cindy Stewart, 54, to the minimum amount of time allowable for a Class X felony -- six years. The sentencing hearing was set for 1:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5.

Stewart was arrested, along with her husband, after police discovered a methamphetamine laboratory in their Keithsburg garage.

An initial motion filed by defense attorney Katherine Drummond to set aside the verdict and have a new trial was denied.

Judge Fuhr said, "I have reviewed the motion and according to my research I don't believe that any of these errors noted by the defense counsel is covered by the law."

The defense attorney then handed the judge several letters written by members of the community.

After two witnesses for the state and two for the defense testified, closing arguments were made. The state asked that Cindy Stewart be sentenced to 10 years plus $5,000 and court costs.

The defense argued for a six-year, minimum mandatory sentence. Judge Fuhr decided on a six-year sentence plus $1,000 fine, two years mandatory probation after being released from prison.

Attorney Drummond put another motion forward for her client to be released on her own recognizance until after all the appeals had been settled, which the judge denied.

Stewart was taken into custody to the Mercer County Jail after the sentencing hearing.