Prosecutor Seeks Repeal For Missouri Man Serving Life For Meth Trafficking

Prosecutor Seeks Repeal For Missouri Man Serving Life For Meth Trafficking

By Seth Ferranti 09/13/16

Tim Prosser was given a life sentence after being caught with 350 grams of liquid meth in a state with a 90-gram statutory minimum for drug trafficking.  

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Prosecutor Seeks Repeal For Missouri Man Serving Life For Meth Trafficking

In 2002, Tim Prosser’s single-wide trailer was raided by a Sainte Genevieve County, Missouri drug task force. Narcotics officers found a makeshift meth lab and drugs. Due to Prosser being a first-time non-violent offender, he wan’t looking at a hard time. Besides, he wasn’t a dealer. Just an addict.

But 13 months later, the drug task force raided him again. They found 350 grams of meth (most of it in liquid form), a new meth lab, and a 17-year-old girl in Prosser’s bed. With this second offense, before the first one had been adjudicated, Prosser ended up getting a life sentence for trafficking methamphetamine in the first degree. Missouri has a 90-gram statutory minimum for first-degree drug trafficking, which made Prosser ineligible for parole.

Fast forward to 2015. The prosecuting attorney for Ste. Genevieve, Carl Kinsky, who was in charge of Prosser’s case and orchestrated him getting a life sentence, wrote a letter to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. "I am requesting the commutation of Timothy Prosser's sentence in the above cause," the letter said. "I was the prosecuting attorney who prosecuted Mr. Prosser and am the current prosecuting attorney for Ste. Genevieve County."

In the letter, Kinsky wrote that Prosser would have gotten a more lenient sentence if he’d been convicted of murder in the first degree. Murderers can get life without parole too, but the language of the statute allows the jury to be informed that a life sentence means a life sentence—something that wasn’t applied to Prosser’s drug trafficking charge. 

"I argued against the judge so informing the jury, but now find it unconscionable that a defendant in a murder trial has the benefit of a jury being so instructed, but not Timothy Prosser," Kinsky wrote.

"In my opinion, Mr. Prosser was clearly guilty. His decision to proceed to trial was likely the result of poor judgment caused by his drug abuse. His conduct merited substantial punishment. Nevertheless, it did not merit this punishment and it did not merit this punishment from a jury that was not fully advised of the consequences of the sentence it assessed.”

Kinsky says that time has given him perspective, and that Prosser’s case has played on his mind for a while. The fifth-term prosecutor is not running for re-election in 2018 and, like President Obama, he is attempting to right some wrongs before he gets out of office by petitioning the governor to commute Prosser’s sentence and let him go home.

"Life without the possibility of parole means death in prison," Kinsky told the Riverfront Times. "It means you're leaving prison feet-first no matter what. If he lives to be 500 years old, he still dies in prison."

The reality of Prosser’s arrest varies from the record also. The 350 grams of liquid the drug task force confiscated would only make about three to five grams of pure meth, said Prosser.

"That's another bizarre aspect of the statute," says Kinsky. "Ninety grams of pure meth is worth a lot. Ninety grams of a liquid that contains meth is, I don't know what it could produce typically, but it's not the final product. It's not going to produce anywhere near 90 grams of pure meth.”

Patrick Prosser, Tim's 80-year-old father, told the Riverfront Times, "He was the poster boy for meth, that's what they made him. We want him out."

It took some time—13 years—but finally, the man who prosecuted Prosser has figured out that the now 53-year-old wasn’t a drug kingpin, he wasn’t even a dealer. He was just an addict who made his own meth for personal use. And doing a life sentence for that is a grave injustice. 

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at sethferranti.com. You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.

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