Keenen Gary entered a straight-up plea to Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet on Thursday instead of proceeding to trial as scheduled.
Gary, 21, pleaded no contest to possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony and being a principal to the possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He pleaded to the charges without an agreement with the state as to his penalty and left that to the judge to decide.
Overstreet, noting his lack of prior convictions, sentenced him to three years drug offender probation with specific requirements including: completion of an associate's degree from Gulf Coast State College, 50 hours of community service and obeying his mother's "house rules" while he's living with her. Overstreet explained that house rules meant his mother was in charge of her house and Gary would abide by her rules. The probation can terminate after 18 months if Gary completes all terms within that time.
Assistant State Attorney Rob Sale was prepared to take Gary to trial Thursday and show jurors that Gary drove a friend to a location where a drug transaction was to occur. During the transaction, Gary carried a firearm, displayed it and threatened the buyer who responded by shooting Gary in the hip.
Possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Principal to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute is a third-degree felony with a maximum prison sentence of five years. Gary faces up to 20 years in prison if he violates the terms of his probation.