June 6, 2013
HAZARD – A plea agreement announced Thursday will have a man who evaded arrest for several weeks in 2012 serve the next six years in prison.
James Barger, 25, of Ricetown, appeared in Perry Circuit Court where he pleaded guilty in three separate cases, including one dating back to July 2011 in which he was alleged to have sold oxycodone tablets to a cooperating witness.
Barger pleaded to one count of first-degree trafficking and second-degree persistent felony offender in exchange for a sentence of six years. The trafficking charge carries a maximum penalty of five years, which will be enhanced to a total of six years due to the charge of persistent felony offender.
Barger entered a guilty plea in a second case on charges of theft over $500 and second-degree fleeing or evading police. According to the indictment, he was alleged to have stolen a trailer and lawnmower from Tractor Supply in Hazard in July 2012.
Prior to his indictment in a third case, Barger was listed as a wanted person in November 2012 in relation to a purse snatching incident in Hazard. Police released Barger’s photo to local media in an attempt to glean information as to his whereabouts, but he had apparently left the state. He was picked up by a sheriff’s deputy in Columbus, Ohio, a month later before his extradition back to Kentucky.
An indictment was returned in the case in March, charging Barger with felony theft over $500 and complicity of fraudulent use of credit card. In addition to the purse snatching charge, he was alleged to have driven two females to a local business where they intended to use a credit card taken from the purse.
Barger pleaded guilty to those charges as well, again in exchange for a sentence of six years to serve. Each of the sentences will run concurrently for a total of six years in prison. He is set for formal sentencing on Aug. 1.