Oddesius Lacharles Bryant, 33, of Andalusia, pled guilty on Monday to Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute, Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Marijuana I, Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Resisting Arrest, and Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Circuit Judge Lex Short presided over the case and took Bryant’s pleas, which came after a jury was selected shortly after noon Monday. When the jury returned from lunch, they were dismissed for a break in order for Bryant’s pleas to be taken.
Bryant was represented by Gulf Shores attorney Riley Powell. The State was represented by Assistant District Attorney Nikki Stephens. No plea agreement was reached as to the sentence that would be imposed, thus Bryant pled “blind” and a sentencing hearing was set for December 19, 2023, at 9:00 a.m. before Short.
The trial setting and pleas were a result of a June 2021 traffic stop by Drug Task Force agents wherein Bryant failed to use traffic signals. Once stopped, agents observed a .223 assault-style pistol in the vehicle with Bryant and knew him to be a convicted felon prohibited from possessing firearms. When agents attempted to remove Bryant from the vehicle, he resisted officers, biting one of them before being handcuffed. Agents recovered powder cocaine and alprazolam (Xanax) pills from his pants pocket. From the vehicle, agents recovered more powder cocaine and alprazolam, crack cocaine, hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, and marijuana.
Because Bryant has three or more prior felony convictions, and because he was out on bond for Drug Trafficking at the time of these offenses, he is due to be sentenced under the Habitual Felony Offender Act. Bryant faces a sentence of 20 – life for Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute; of 15 – life each for Possession of Marijuana I and the firearm charge; of 1 year and 1 day up to 10 years for Possession of alprazolam, hydrocodone, morphine, or oxycodone; up to one year for the drug paraphernalia; and up to six months for Resisting Arrest.
Stephens noted her thanks to Covington County Sheriff’s Office narcotics agents, Cody Holmes and Mark Odom; to Andalusia narcotics agent Tyler Patterson; and Gantt Police Chief Ken Harris for their work on the case. “The case was solid and we had attempted ad nauseum to negotiate a plea deal with Mr. Bryant. We ultimately decided we were done negotiating and ready to go to trial. I suppose Mr. Bryant and his attorney could see the writing on the wall, and he pled guilty.”
District Attorney Walt Merrell commended Stephens and the officers involved. “Too often we hear that drug crimes are victimless and that people dealing drugs ‘aren’t hurting anybody,’ but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The seizure of these illegal drugs prevented them from falling into the hands of addicts and those whose lives are often already teetering on the edge of disaster. Nobody knows how many people these drugs might have affected had Mr. Bryant had the chance to distribute them as he intended, and I’m thankful that didn’t happen.”