The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

February 1, 2013

One arraigned, one sentenced in drug case

By BRAD KELLAR
Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — A local resident has pleaded guilty to being part of a group which allegedly exposed three small children to a variety of illegal drugs last year.

Meanwhile, a fourth suspect has been arraigned on multiple indictments in connection with the same case.

Melinda Marshell Foster, 43, of Greenville entered guilty pleas Thursday during a hearing in the 354th District Court to three counts of abandoning/endangering a child. Under a plea bargain arrangement, Foster was sentenced to 16 months in a state jail and was fined $500 on each charge.

Foster originally received three indictments for the more serious charge of endangering a child by an act.

Demarcus DeShun Foster, 21, of Greenville, was arraigned and pleaded not guilty Thursday to three indictments for endangering a child by an act.

The indictments were issued sealed by the Hunt County grand jury in November, pending Demarcus Foster’s arrest and arraignment on the charges.

Judge Richard A. Beacom accepted the pleas and scheduled a tentative trial date for March 25.

Indictments against Justin Lashun Foster and Johnnie Frances Foster, both of Greenville, were also issued by the panel in November. Both have pleaded not guilty and have trial dates pending.

All four defendants were alleged in the original indictments to have acted alongside two other individuals in exposing  children of less than 14 years of age to cocaine, marijuana, PCP, amphetamines, opiates and more, and to have smoked and/or sold the substances from a residence in the 2200 block of St. John Street on or about May 4, 2012.

The Greenville Police Department’s Tactical Unit, Criminal Investigations Division, and Hunt County Sheriff’s Office Investigators were reported to have executed a search and arrest warrant at the home on that day.

 An undisclosed amount of currency was seized from the home along with marijuana, several different dangerous drugs, and “crack” cocaine packaged for sale. In addition, police seized scales and packaging material used for the distribution of illegal drugs.

At least two small children, a 2 year-old male and an 8 month-old male, were removed from the home by the Texas Department of Family Protective Services (Child Protective Services).

The endangering a child by an act indictments carry a maximum sentence upon conviction of from two to 20 years in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.