After initially contesting his charges, former Mobile County Sheriff’s deputy Chris Parsons pleaded guilty Thursday to a single count of possession of a controlled substance in an agreement that will likely keep him from serving any time in prison.
Parsons, a six-year employee of MCSO at the time, was fired in March after he was caught buying illegal drugs in a sting operation executed by his former colleagues and the Saraland Police Department.
At the time, MCSO told members of the press that marijuana and another “controlled substance” were found in Parsons’ patrol car.
Parsons had already received an 80-hour suspension in 2016 for misplacing evidence — crystal meth — that he initially claimed to have lost before later telling the department he “found it in his car.” According to a MCSO spokesperson, that’s when the department “really began paying attention.”
After being fired, Parsons wasn’t arrested or charged with a crime for nearly two months — a delay District Attorney Ashley Rich said she could find “no legitimate reason” for at the time and that ultimately prompted accusations of preferential treatment.
When Parsons was indicted in May, he initially pleaded not guilty. Then, in July, he notified the court of his intent to use a “defense of entrapment,” which occurs when police use “coercion or overbearing tactics” to get someone to break the law.
However, during a Sept. 21 hearing before Mobile County Circuit Judge Rick Stout, Parsons shifted gears — waiving his right to a trial by jury and pleading guilty to one of the six charges he was originally indicted for.
Parsons was sentenced to two years in state prison, but Stout’s sentencing order also “suspended” that sentence during “two years of formal probation.” If he completes the probation without incident, Parsons will avoid any time behind bars.
Stout also gave the former corrections officer credit for “all the time served” since his arrest, which according to jail records was around 17 minutes on May 1.