GEORGETOWN — Former high school basketball star Jonathan "Bud" Mackey entered a guilty plea Monday morning to an amended charge of first-degree possession of a controlled substance.
Mackey, 19, was scheduled to appear in Scott County Circuit Court for a jury trial, but prosecutors offered him the plea deal.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
Mackey had been indicted in February on a charge of first-degree trafficking a controlled substance, a Class C felony that carries a penalty of five to 10 years in prison. The amended charge is a Class D felony, punishable by one to five years in prison.
The Commonwealth recommended Mackey to serve six months in jail in addition to his two months jail credit and to probate the remainder of the five-year sentence. He will be sentenced Oct. 6. Mackey served 60 days in jail after violating the terms of his bond in May.
Mackey was the Sweet Sixteen's most valuable player while on Scott County's 2007 state championship team and had planned to play basketball at Indiana University.
He was charged last September. Police said he had 1.6 grams of rock cocaine in his shoe when he was arrested at Scott County High School.
According to court documents, the charge was amended for a number of reasons such as the drugs were not actually transferred, Mackey's lack of criminal history, and it "eliminates the necessity of suppression hearings."
If the suppression hearing occurred, it would have involved whether statements Mackey made at his arrest and search that was conducted were permissible, said the commonwealth and the defense. After his arrest, Mackey told school administrators he was delivering it to an unidentified person, according to a police report.
During the court hearing, Mackey's attorney Jerry Wright said he plans to provide documents from family and friends in support of Mackey, but wanted to make sure that it did not "negate or void" the plea agreement.
After the court hearing, Wright said he thinks Mackey obtained his GED.
Commonwealth's Attorney Gordie Shaw said Mackey's case — in which a student was arrested on school grounds and, initially, charged with trafficking — was a first for his office, which handles cases for Scott, Woodford and Bourbon counties.
"We've had everything else but students ... it's the first, it may not be the last, so what's our standard going to be when this happens," Shaw said. "Whatever we use for him, it's going to be the same standard we use for everyone else."
Shaw said he had an informal discussion with high school students who said drugs were one of the major challenges they face in terms of peer pressure.
Being a star basketball player, Mackey also propelled the case to the public forum, said Scott County High School Principal Frank Howatt, who had been subpoenaed by the commonwealth for Mackey's scheduled trial.
Howatt said he was comfortable with the plea agreement.
He said it showed there are consequences to the drug charge, "but still at some point he can pick up his life and move on."
Howatt said he hoped Mackey's case sent a clear message to other students that no one will look the other way if they get caught with drugs.
"You are going to pay a pretty stiff penalty," he said.