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The primary prosecution witness against two men convicted in March of LSD trafficking has been charged in Oklahoma and Nevada with kidnapping and drug charges.
A Nevada federal grand jury in early September charged Gordon Todd Skinner, of Tulsa, Okla., with one count of possession with intent to distribute about 341 grams of a substance containing ecstacy, according to a Nevada court record. Later that month, Skinner and two other people were charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, kidnapping and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, according to Tulsa County, Okla., court records.
Skinner, 39, was the prosecution's star witness against Clyde Apperson, 48, and William Leonard Pickard, 57, when they were convicted in U.S. District Court in Topeka of trafficking LSD from a former missile silo in Wamego.
Now Apperson is using Skinner's testimony at that trial to request a sentence of 10 years, rather than life in prison. He contends Skinner's testimony confirms that he played a "minor role" and should get a shorter sentence.
A federal court jury in Topeka convicted Apperson and Pickard of conspiracy and possession of LSD with intent to distribute more than 10 grams. Each faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life without parole.
In seeking a lower sentence for Apperson, defense attorney Mark Bennett is relying in part on Skinner's testimony that Pickard was making all the decisions about the LSD operation and that Apperson was his employee. Quoting Skinner's testimony from the trial, Bennett contends Apperson's job was to set up and tear down the LSD lab, to do mechanical and repair work on the lab and to disguise the LSD lab area.
Each time he set up or took down the LSD lab, Apperson was paid $50,000 to $100,000, Bennett wrote in a document filed in U.S. District Court in support of the shorter sentence for Apperson.
"While it cannot be said that Clyde Apperson occupied a 'minimal' role, he clearly occupied a minor role in comparison to the other criminal responsible participants, Skinner and Pickard," Bennett wrote.
In the filing, Bennett said relying on Skinner's testimony during the trial wasn't done without some "reluctance" and noted that since the trial Skinner "has provided further evidence as to his character."
"in times of widespread chaos and confusion, it has been the duty of more advanced human beings - artists, scientists, clowns, and philosophers - to create order. In such times as ours however, when there is too much order, too much m management, too much programming and control, it becomes the duty of superior men and women and women to fling their favorite monkey wrenches into the machinery. To relieve the repression of the human spirit, they must sow doubt and disruption"
"People do it every day, they talk to themselves ... they see themselves as they'd like to be, they don't have the courage you have, to just run with it."