Former Cherokee County GOP Chairman John Lloyd Ellis, who entered a guilty plea on a charge of Trafficking in Cannabis, has been sentenced to a term of 10 years in the state penitentiary split to serve three years, with the split suspended.
What that actually boils down to is no time behind bars unless he fails to meet the conditions and guidelines set by the court in this case; should he fail to follow those rules, he will then be sent to prison for a period of three years.
He will also be on probation for a period of five years – and as part of that probation, Ellis will be required to continue to participate in court referral for 12 months.
That sentence was handed down Monday (November 23rd) by Circuit Judge Randall Cole.
Ellis entered his guilty plea before Judge Cole in Cherokee County Circuit Court, on October 5th of this year (2015). A little more than a year ago Ellis was indicted by a grand jury on charges of Trafficking in Cannabis and Unlawful Possession of Marijuana 1st Degree.
He was first arrested on July 11th of that year, during a drug eradication sweep, conducted by the State Bureau of Investigation and the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.
Ellis had been an adjunct instructor of political science at Jacksonville State University, and the week following his arrest – JSU spokesperson Angie Finley announced that Ellis was no longer employed by the school. On July 15th 2014 WEIS Radio News received a letter stating that the Cherokee County Republican Executive Committee had accepted Ellis’ resignation as Chairman.
According to a copy of that plea agreement, obtained from the Cherokee County Clerk of Circuit Court’s Office, charges of Unlawful Possession of Marijuana 1st Degree, as well as the Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, were dismissed.
The paperwork also indicated that a $25,000 fine would be assessed – and that it must be paid by November 23rd of this year (2015).
We understand that the fine was paid several days prior to sentencing.