Dalton meth dealer sentenced to life without parole
May 16, 2019 (Dalton) – District Attorney Bert Poston says, Shane Allen Wheat 35 of Dalton was sentenced in Superior Court Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The District Attorney says, Wheat had six prior felony convictions between the years of 2003 and 2015, oftentimes reoffending within a matter of months of his paroles. Wheat had been sent to prison five times before his October 2017 arrest. Wheat had served a total of 130 months since 2003. Back in March a Whitfield County jury returned guilty verdicts against Shane Allen Wheat (35), formerly of 1210 Good Hope Road, Dalton, for trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, possession of methamphetamine, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a drug offense, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, possession of a drug related object, and two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Superior Court Judge Jim Wilbanks presided over the trial and set sentencing for May 17, 2019. Wheat was represented by Dalton attorney Jerry Moncus. Assistant District Attorney Ben Kenemer and Whitfield County Sheriff’s Detective Cameron Cox presented the case to the jury. The State called seven witnesses and presented 27 exhibits to the jury during the trial which was split into two parts or “bifurcated”. The jury first heard about the charges other than the two counts of possession of firearms by a convicted felon and were not advised of Wheat’s prior record. After returning guilty verdicts on those counts, the jury was re-sworn and additional evidence was presented as to one of Wheat’s prior felony convictions to prove the remaining counts. Wheat had previously been convicted in 2001 of theft in Murray County, in 2003 of possession and sale of methamphetamine in Murray County, in 2007 of trafficking in methamphetamine in Gwinnett County, in 2011 of possession of methamphetamine in Murray County and in 2015 of possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute in Whitfield County. Wheat had received numerous prison sentences during his career and was still on parole for the 2015 Whitfield County offense having served only 28 months on a sentence requiring 7 years to serve followed by 13 years on probation. Wheat faces up to life without the possibility of parole when he returns before Judge Wilbanks on May 17th. The evidence presented at trial showed that detectives approached Wheat on October 4, 2017 in an attempt to serve outstanding warrants from Murray County and a Parole warrant. Wheat fled on foot but was apprehended. At the time of his arrest, he had 3.8 grams of methamphetamine and a meth pipe in his pocket plus $1,960 in cash. After being Mirandized, he claimed ownership of a backpack in a vehicle he had recently been seen exiting. The backpack was found to contain another meth pipe, a .357 magnum revolver, and a magazine for a .380 caliber pistol. A box next to the backpack contained the actual .380 pistol, matching the magazine, digital scales, and an additional 77 grams of methamphetamine (approximately 2.75 ounces). A conviction for trafficking in methamphetamine requires proof of 28 grams or more. Wheat was held without bond pending trial, but during trial it was learned that he had made a phone call from the jail the day before jury selection in an effort to intimidate a witness into not testifying against him. The witness, who owned the vehicle, had previously stated that the items in the back seat, including the box, belonged to Wheat. The witness actually failed to appear when scheduled but was quickly located and brought to court and testified and the jury also heard evidence in the form of the recorded call from the jail concerning the attempt to influence the witness.