Angry inmate gets 44 months for drug delivery.

March 14, 2016
Foster Mudget with his attorney, Harold Emelander during a court hearing last fall.

Foster Mudget with his attorney, Harold Emelander, during a court hearing last fall.

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

HART — A 25-year-old prison inmate, who was being extremely uncooperative with the judge, received a 44-month to seven-year prison term in 27th Circuit Court Monday, March 14, for delivery of fentanyl.

Foster Lewis Mudget became irate when his request to withdraw his plea was denied by Judge Anthony Monton. Mudget, who pleaded “no contest” to the charge last month, uttered a profanity when he was standing at the podium in front of the judge and later flipped his middle finger as he was being escorted out of the courtroom by prison corrections officers.

Monton exceeded the 19-38 month guidelines with the 44-month minimum, but noted that he agreed not to exceed 44 months at the time Mudget entered his plea. Monton received credit for 327 days already served.

Mudget was facing a more serious charge of delivery of a controlled substance causing death stemming from the overdose death of 46-year-old Annette Conkle in October of 2014. That count was dismissed when he pleaded to the lesser charge, Feb. 1.

Hart City Police officers responded to the 200 block of Dryden Street in Hart, where they found Conkle unresponsive.

“The plea I made was not on my own free will,” Mudget said to the judge.

“You were under oath and indicated you made the plea on your own free will,” Monton said. “You said you were not threatened when you made the plea.”

“This is not the plea I wanted to make,” Mudget said. “In my heart, this what not what I wanted to do. I thought bad things would happen to my family.”

“I believe it’s a valid plea,” Monton said. “You said you were doing it

Mudget -MDOC photo

-MDOC photo

freely and voluntarily. You had a considerable amount of time to consider your options.” Monton told Mudget he can appeal the decision.

Mudget’s attorney, Harold Emelander, made a motion to withdraw representation from the case due to “a complete breakdown” in communication. “We can’t go forward,” he said. Monton also denied that motion.

Mudget was totally uncooperative and wouldn’t answer Monton’s questions.

Emelander noted that Mudget’s previous criminal background is mainly misdemeanors and that he’s enrolled in a substance abuse program in prison. “He is capable of making change in his life,” Emelander said.

Mudget said his pre-sentence investigation report is “all lies. It doesn’t matter — you’re going to do what you want, right?” He continued to ask that his plea be withdrawn after Monton denied it.

“I just would like to say that I know in my heart that Foster delivered the lethal dose,” said Conkle’s mother who asked to address the court. “He should get whatever he can get. It was her choice to take the drug, but he delivered it.”

“My client shouldn’t be punished for a crime he didn’t plead to,” Emelander said. “That is not a factor in the unfortunate situation of a person passing away.”

Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon said in an interview after the court proceeding that an autopsy revealed that Conkle’s death was caused by fentanyl, which is a drug often “intermixed with heroin.” Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opiate analgesic similar to but more potent than morphine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It is slower-acting and has a longer release than heroin, Bizon said.

The prosecution could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the fentanyl Mudget delivered to Conkle is the fentanyl that killed her. She may have ingested other sources of the drug in addition to the fentanyl she received from Mudget, he said. So, the delivery-causing-death charge was dismissed.

According to the Offender Tracking Information System (OTIS), Mudget is lodged in the West Shoreline Correctional Facility in Muskegon Heights, serving a 13-month to five-year sentence for an organized retail crime act violation conviction in Muskegon County.

His earliest release date was April 18, but he now has to serve a minimum of 44 months for the Oceana County conviction.

Mudget avoids potential civil liability with the “no contest” plea.