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Drug dealer sentenced to 45 years

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By The Staff

Hermie McClendon of Chiefland has been sentenced to 45 years in prison for his conviction in a case that also spawned a jury tampering charge against his lifelong friend.
McClendon was found guilty by a jury on charges of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and sale of a controlled substance. He was sentenced on Nov. 29 to 15 years on the first charge and 30 years on the second, both to be served concurrently.
McClendon's friend, Robert Earl Patterson, 38, of Williston was charged with attempting to persuade a juror to vote not guilty during McClencdon's first trial on the charges in October.
The juror told deputies Patterson came to her home and left his cell phone number for her to call. When the juror's mother called the phone number Patterson asked that the juror vote not guilty and offered to buy her dinner and pay her.
In a statement to Levy Sheriff's Office investigators Patterson said his childhood pal, McClendon, had called him with the juror's name and said she lived in Williston. Patterson told deputies McClendon asked if he knew the woman and could he talk to her.
"He said McClendon told him he was looking at 20 years in prison if he was convicted," according to the arrest report.
"Earl said he felt good about his conversation with (the juror) and he called his cousin McClendon. He said he told McClendon "might look good,"  "but I don't know." Patterson said McClendon told him he would “be praying."
Patterson told the deputies McClendon called him the next day to tell him court officials knew Patterson had contacted the juror.
Patterson faces up to five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.