A Kennewick man seen frequenting a marijuana grow site near Plymouth last year pleaded innocent Wednesday to allegations he was harvesting the illegal drug.
Jerry Lee Lindenburger, 59, is scheduled for trial Aug. 27 in Benton County Superior Court on one count of manufacturing, delivering or possessing with intent to manufacture or deliver marijuana.
Benton County sheriff's deputies contacted Lindenburger on Oct. 21 after observing him a number of times at the grow operation, according to court documents.
On that day, Lindenburger came from the grow area with a dark-colored backpack. His car was impounded, and deputies discovered he had potting soil, cutters and twine, documents said.
Lindenburger, in his interview with officers, allegedly admitted to harvesting the drugs but denied having more than 15 plants. Deputies removed 30 plants from the grow site, though Lindenburger reportedly pointed out that some of the harvested plants still were small.
Prosecutors claim that the tools found in Lindenburger's possession were used in several nearby operations to tie up plants.
Lindenburger is out of custody on his personal recognizance while the case is pending.
Kennewick man pleadsinnocent in arson case
A July 16 trial date was set for a 41-year-old Kennewick man charged with setting fire to a mattress in his home.
Charles Vincent Pullicino pleaded innocent to second-degree arson for the May 17 incident.
According to police and court documents, Pullicino had been fighting with his girlfriend when he started destroying the inside of his 424. S. Olympia St. home.
The girlfriend called Kennewick police, who arrived to find "many things that had been overturned and broken," documents said.
Two officers could smell smoke and found a mattress that was smoldering. Kennewick firefighters responded to reports of smoke alarms going off in the home.
Pullicino, who might have a mental illness, told police he accidentally started the fire by leaving a cigarette on the mattress, court documents said.
However, a detective noted there were multiple ignition sites on the mattress and could not find a cigarette anywhere in the bedroom, documents said.
Police said a lighter was found nearby, and a roommate told officers that Pullicino does not smoke.
The detective said the burn patterns on the mattress were consistent with an open flame as the ignition source, rather than a single cigarette, Deputy Prosecutor Terry Bloor wrote in court documents.
Man pleads guilty to selling potto middle school students
A 22-year-old man admitted selling marijuana to a Park Middle School student.
Justin Demario Dixon's guilty plea was for one count of unlawful deliver of a controlled substance to a person under age 18.
An enhancement alleging that the crime occurred within 1,000 feet of the school grounds was dismissed as part of plea negotiations, according to Deputy Prosecutor Art Bieker.
Kennewick police suspected something was going on near the 1011 W. 10th Ave. campus in April 2011 when students were caught with pot.
School staff and security had recognized the smell of marijuana in a student locker, and reportedly identified seven students ages 11 to 13. Some of those students didn't actually buy pot but witnessed deals being made.
Information led police to Dixon, who had "a quantity of marijuana" in his nearby apartment during a search, court documents said. He denied selling marijuana but told police he was in the home during the sale, documents said.
Dixon will be sentenced May 30.
He faces a standard range of four years and three months to five years and eight months. However, defense lawyer Moe Spencer told the court the recommended term will be an exceptional sentence down of one year in prison.
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; email@example.com