Man contests meth charge in trial

Seen in this Tuesday photo is the 35th Circuit Courtroom in Corunna during the opening of the trial for Jay Downey.

CORUNNA — An Owosso man is on trial this week, charged with possessing methamphetamine in a case that could send him to prison for several years.

Jay Downey, 35, of Owosso, is on trial in 35th Circuit Court on a charge of possession of methamphetamine (second offense), which stems from a Feb. 8 incident when Owosso police responded to a call by Downey’s girlfriend. A personal protection order was in place at the time, which had resulted from a domestic dispute.

Tuesday, after the jury was selected and seated at 10:40 a.m., assistant prosecutor Richard McNally laid out the alleged events that surrounded Downey’s felony charge.

When police arrived at the residence on North Orchard Street, two Owosso officers allegedly found Downey hiding in a closet. The officers believed Downey appeared to be under the influence of meth, and transported him to the Shiawassee County Jail.

While en route to the jail, the officers stated Downey “rambled in a paranoid fashion.” Police later allegedly found pipes, a torch and other meth-related paraphernalia, along with a “crystalline substance” in a small plastic baggie. Tests by the Michigan State Police Crime Lab later showed the substance was meth.

“The evidence in this case should convince you that, one, at the time of his arrest, Mr. Downey was high on meth. Evidence will lead you to the conclusion the meth was, in fact, Mr. Downey’s. As it will apply to your common sense, we will ask for a verdict of guilty in this case,” McNally told the jury.

Defense attorney Doug Corwin admitted Downey had violated the PPO that was in place barring contact with his girlfriend, but he blamed Downey’s appearance on a medical condition.

He said Downey’s son will testify the meth that was found belonged to the son or one of his friends.

“I anticipate you’ll hear about Feb. 8. You’ll hear testimony that Jay Downey suffers from diabetes. What you’re not going to hear is any evidence putting that methamphetamine in his hand,” Corwin said. “No fingerprints from Mr. Downey were found on that baggie. You will hear testimony that Mr. Downey had no intent to possess meth.”

Judge Matthew Stewart called a halt to the proceedings shortly before noon, and the trial was scheduled to resume at 8:30 a.m. this morning.

Downey was charged by prosecutors May 21, and arrested the same day. He was arraigned Aug. 8 by 66th District Court Judge Ward Clarkson; he pleaded not guilty.

Court records do not indicate the reason for the delay between charging and his arrest. Downey posted a $25,000 cash/surety bond Aug. 26, and has been free on bond since that time.

In Shiawassee County, Downey has a lengthy criminal history, including misdemeanor convictions for third-degree retail fraud in 2010, a loose dog citation in 2011, failure to pay a jail booking fee in 2011, and driving while license suspended (second offense) in 2013.

Additionally, a 2005 malicious destruction of a building (less than $200) charge that was dismissed upon payment of restitution and attorney fees, and a 2010 third-degree retail fraud was dismissed by prosecutors.

He also has felony convictions for two separate counts of delivery/manufacture of cocaine in 2011 and 2013, and possession of a controlled substance in 2015.

If convicted of the charge in this case, Downey faces up to four years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine.

(1) comment

Mother Hen

Did he test positive for meth? No mention of a drug test being done.

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