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Ex-sheriff gets life in prison in drug case

BENTON – A former southern Illinois sheriff was resentenced Friday to spend the rest of his life in prison after his initial life sentence was tossed on a procedural glitch.

A federal judge rejected former Gallatin County Sheriff Raymond Martin’s plea for mercy and sentenced him to more two life terms in a drug-trafficking case where Martin allegedly plotted to have witnesses killed.

Before he was sentenced, Martin asked for a chance at freedom.

Martin’s original sentence, imposed two years ago, was identical – two life terms plus ten years. But it was thrown out in August by the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals over how sentencing guidelines were applied.

Martin – a Democrat who had been re-elected sheriff four times – was convicted in 2010, after witnesses testified that he was on duty when he supplied a drug dealer with marijuana stolen from a department evidence locker.

After he was jailed, he allegedly plotted to have two potential witnesses assaulted or possibly killed, though neither was harmed because the would-be hitmen got cold feet and told authorities.

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