Appeals Court upholds Hyatt conviction and sentence

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A Grant County man currently serving a drug related prison sentence has failed to convince the Arkansas Court of Appeals that he was convicted in error.

Randy Hyatt, 45, was sentenced to 96 months in prison after a Grant County jury found him guilty as an habitual offender of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia in May 2022.

According to evidence presented at the trial, Hyatt was the driver of a vehicle stopped at a sobriety checkpoint conducted by the Grant County Sheriff’s Department on Dec. 18, 2021 and was pulled out of the vehicle when he refused to show his hands. A Grant County Deputy and a Sheridan Police Officer were at the checkpoint and found a pill bottle containing two plastic baggies with a crystal-like substance that a chemist from the State Crime Laboratory testified was methamphetamine.

Hyatt appealed his conviction arguing that the state failed to prove he knowingly or purposely possessed the drug and failed to prove that it belonged to him because there was another person in the vehicle.

The Appeals Court said that although there was a passenger in the car, officers never saw that person reach for the area where the drugs were found but Hyatt’s hands were seen in the area and he refused to remove them when ordered to do so.

He is serving his sentence at the Wrightsville Unit and will be eligible to apply for parole in September 2027.