The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

August 4, 2013

‘Sophisticated’ man jailed for growing pot

DELAWARE TOWNSHIP — Although Gregory L. Caskey’s attorney asked for a lesser sentence than Caskey received, Caskey said he could handle a judge’s punishment on a charge of possession of marijuana stemming from a grow operation in Delaware Township.

“I’m just ready to take whatever you give to me and move on in my life,” Caskey, 63, said Tuesday.

Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert G. Yeatts sentenced Caskey to 20 months to 5 years with credit for 226 days and set an early-release minimum of 15 months after considering the man that a prosecutor and his defense attorney referred to as “sophisticated.”

Caskey accepted responsibility for growing marijuana in a cornfield on Heckman Road, which was discovered Aug. 3, 2005, by state police.

Caskey tried to have the evidence suppressed and, after a judge denied the motion, skipped town in late 2006 or early 2007.

Caskey said he lived in West Virginia, building a home on a buddy’s land and doing odd jobs to support himself and his wife.

“He spent the better part of six years looking over his shoulder,” said defense attorney Stephen D. Colafella.

He might have been looking over his shoulder, but the threat of arrest didn’t keep him sedentary. Caskey was arrested in January at the Houston airport as he waited to make a connecting flight from California to North Carolina, where his estranged wife was living.

Assistant Mercer County District Attorney Brian Farrone said Caskey was not smoking the pot he was growing, making the operation strictly for his financial benefit.

Yeatts said Caskey supporters sent him an “extreme” number of letters, which led him to wonder why Caskey, who had previous convictions, staked so much on a criminal enterprise.

“Why is a person who is capable of all that good involved in a criminal action?” the judge asked.

While there was no answer tendered to the judge’s question, Colafella said Caskey had reunited with his wife and turned his life around.

He also claimed Caskey was not solely responsible for the growing operation.

“He fell on his sword,” Colafella said, meaning he took the blame for all involved.

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