Billy James McMullen pleaded guilty Monday to drug and gun charges in an effort to get the state to reduce charges against his mother.
Assistant State Attorney Christa Diviney was prepared to pick a jury Monday and go forward with trial on a charge of manufacturing methamphetamine against McMullen when he decided to plea instead. He pleaded guilty to manufacturing meth, trafficking more than 28 grams of meth, being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing drug paraphernalia.
Circuit Judge Elijah Smiley sentenced him to 7 years in the department of corrections and McMullen will have to serve every day of his sentence, without the possibility of receiving up to 15 percent of his time off for good behavior.
McMullen, 31, was found June 23, 2012, in a barn off North Berthe Avenue by the property owner, who discovered him making methamphetamine using the "shake and bake" method. McMullen was shaking the container when he was found. He discarded the container when he ran from the scene and when officers arrived they found the mixture was still processing.
McMullen was arrested later, while engaged in another shake-and-bake cook. Diviney also had as evidence numerous jail calls between McMullen and others in which McMullen bragged that he'd "never met nobody better than him" at cooking meth.
In January, McMullen went before Smiley for an evidentiary hearing on several violations of his probation for a 2011 aggravated assault conviction. In that hearing, McMullen's mother, Vickie Layfield, testified that McMullen was still living at his approved residence, despite the allegation that he'd illegally moved without notifying his probation officer.
Smiley found that McMullen had violated his probation in another way and sentenced him to 57 months in prison. Shortly thereafter, Layfield was recorded in a jail call admitting that she lied to the judge about McMullen's living arrangements. Diviney then charged Layfield with perjury in an official proceeding, a third-degree felony.
When McMullen entered his plea Monday he did so with the understanding that the charge against his mother would be reduced to a misdemeanor and her probation would be reinstated. Layfield is on probation from a 2011 conviction for habitually driving with a suspended license and leaving the scene of a crash with injury.
On Tuesday, Smiley issued a notice for Layfield to appear Aug. 19 to resolve that issue.
Information provided by the State Attorney's Office