A 42-year-old Baton Rouge man with no less than 18 arrests and four felony convictions to his name told a judge he’s no threat to society before he was sentenced Tuesday to 60 years in prison at hard labor.
The stiff sentence that Cornelius Wilson received from state District Judge Tony Marabella prompted prosecutor Dana Cummings to dismiss pending drug-related charges of racketeering, conspiracy and illegal possession of a firearm.
Those charges were contained in two indictments — one against Wilson and 14 others, and a second against Wilson and 11 others — handed down by an East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury in October 2013.
Wilson’s harsh prison term came on the heels of his May 29 conviction in East Baton Rouge Parish — his fourth felony conviction — on drug charges, including possession with intent to distribute cocaine and oxycodone.
Court documents show Wilson was found guilty of theft in Terrebonne Parish in 2004, forgery in Terrebonne in 2003 and aggravated battery in East Baton Rouge in 1995.
Wilson was given a suspended 10-year prison sentence and put on probation for five years in the East Baton Rouge case. He received a suspended seven-year prison term and was placed on probation for one year in 2003 and was sentenced to two years in prison in 2004.
Before Marabella read Wilson’s lengthy arrest record into the record Tuesday, Wilson took responsibility for his “bad acts” but said he was a different person back then.
“I’m really not that person. I’m not a violent person. I’m not a threat to society,” he told the judge.
Marabella, who spent several minutes reading Wilson’s arrest history from the bench, appointed the Louisiana Appellate Project to handle Wilson’s appeal.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III called Wilson’s 60-year sentence just and appropriate given his criminal history.
“This sentence will ensure that his past criminal behavior will not be repeated,” he said.
Even though Wilson’s racketeering charges were dismissed, Moore said, the state retains the option of pursuing those charges at a later date if necessary.
In the racketeering indictment against Wilson and the 14 other defendants, Cummings said, all but four have pleaded guilty to felonies.
In the conspiracy indictment that named Wilson and 11 others, the prosecutor said, three of the defendants died of drug-related deaths and another was dismissed after staying drug-free since his arrest. Several have pleaded guilty, leaving only two defendants that have not entered such a plea, she added.