A Greenwood man pleaded guilty to a drug distribution charge Monday afternoon at the Greenwood County Courthouse.
Bruce Williams, 39, of 202 Brooks Stuart Drive, submitted his admission of guilt to a count of distribution of crack cocaine during the hearing.
He faced up to 30 years in prison and a possible $50,000 fine if convicted of the indictment, but attorneys on both sides came to terms on an eight-year sentence for the defendant.
Circuit Court Judge Frank Addy accepted Williams' plea and deferred it to January, when he is expected to sentence the man. Williams' defense attorney beckoned Addy to allow the defendant to remain free until after the new year to spend the holidays with his family. The judge granted the request and set his sentencing date to 9 a.m. Jan. 6 inside the courthouse.
Williams was part of this week's trial docket and slated to go before a jury on several drug charges stemming from the 2011 incident. As part of the negotiated plea-deal, prosecutors agreed to drop all of his other charges and void an unrelated drug distribution warrant that law enforcement had yet to serve upon him.
Williams was arrested July 14, 2011 when an confidential informant purchased a small quantity of crack cocaine from him during a controlled buy that was videotaped, prosecutors said Monday. The surveillance footage shows Williams and the informant perform a hand-to-hand drug transaction at the trunk of his SUV.
Prosecutors said Williams had a prior conviction for trafficking cocaine in 1997 for which he was sentenced to seven years in prison. Williams testified during Monday's hearing that he served three years on that offense.
Addy informed him that he would have to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed upon him for the distribution count to which he pleaded guilty before he is eligible for parole. Addy also told the man he would come down hard on him if he engaged in any illegal activity while on his holiday reprieve, indicating he held the power to nullify the attorneys' negotiated plea and issue the maximum 30-year sentence.