By Tom Marshall
Senior Advocate writer
Kloud Logan Jones, 27, who pleaded guilty to providing drugs to a Montgomery County Regional Jail inmate who died in 2017, was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison last Friday in U.S. District Court in Lexington.
Jones apologized to the family of the victim, 25-year-old Ryan Smallwood of Frenchburg, but they were not present in the courtroom.
“My past decisions were affected by drugs and other substances,” Jones told U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves prior to sentencing.
Jones’ attorney, Pamela Pearlman, vouched for Jones’ remorse.
“I know Kloud is sincerely remorseful,” Pearlman told the judge. “He never meant for this to happen that night.”
Pearlman asked Reeves to consider placing Jones in drug treatment while incarcerated and to place him in a facility in Arizona close to his father and grandmother.
Both wrote letters to the judge asking for leniency.
Reeves recommended that Jones be placed in treatment, that he receive job skills training and be placed in facility near Phoenix, Ariz. Reeves said the ultimate decision on placement will be up to the Bureau of Prisons.
In setting sentence, Reeves said he considered Jones’ cooperation in the case, his young age, but also his disrespect for the court system reflected by other previous convictions in state court.
Reeves noted that Jones had two driving under the influence convictions, criminal trespass, public intoxication, multiple counts of theft by deception-cold checks and driving on a revoked license.
Most concerning, Reeves said, was the frequency with which Jones failed to appear in court.
“You’ve got a history of offenses that hasn’t been considered seriously in state court and received only short sentences,” the judge told Jones, adding that his conduct “showed a total disrespect for the law.”
Pearlman presented some mitigating factors privately at the bench prior to sentencing, but Reeves said it was not enough for him to consider going below the recommended minimum of 20 years. Jones faced up to life in prison.
In federal court, a defendant must serve at least 85 percent of their sentence before they are eligible for parole. If Jones serves the full sentence he will be 52 when he is released.
Reeves did not order Jones to pay a fine or restitution because “of his current financial condition.”
The judge did order Jones to serve three years of supervised release after his prison term. During that time Jones will be subject to random searches by a probation officer of the court, the judge also ordered.
Reeves told Jones that he hopes he will use his incarceration to better himself. The judge noted that even at 52, when he is released, Jones will have an opportunity to change the course of his life.
“I hope you don’t come out a worse person than when you went in,” the judge told him.
As part of a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Jones waived his right to appeal his guilt, but maintains the right to appeal his sentence.
“We continue to confront the tragedy of the opioid epidemic,” Robert M. Duncan, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, said in a release. “Those who distribute these dangerous drugs need to understand that we are committed to combatting this problem, to using all the tools available to us, and to prosecuting those who further this loss of life through their criminal conduct. This conduct has serious consequences and we will be vigilant in our efforts to confront this challenge.”
Smallwood had been incarcerated at the MCRJ for a few months before Jones was booked in. The next morning, Nov. 23, 2017, Smallwood was found unresponsive in his cell.
Toxicology tests would reveal that Smallwood died as the result of fentanyl toxicity, according to prosecutors. No other drugs were present.
Reeves said that Smallwood, to his misfortune, did not have the tolerance level to handle the drugs after being incarcerated for as long as he had.
The case was investigated by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration was also involved in the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Bradbury prosecuted the case.
Following Jones’ indictment May 3, 2018, Smallwood’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the jail. Smallwood had two children.
The suit claims the exchange of drugs between Smallwood and Jones was captured on surveillance video.
The suit also claims that the jail failed to properly search Jones and should have ensured that Smallwood was in a single or isolation cell because of alleged mental health issues.