A Johnson County man facing a minimum of 15 years in federal prison for trafficking in methamphetamine is asking for leniency in sentencing.

Proctor Wayne Pennington Sr., 66, pleaded guilty to two charges — conspiring to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine — and is facing sentencing in the case Dec. 16.

In a memorandum filed this week in U.S. District Court in Pikeville, Pennington’s attorney, Andy Markelonis, argues that even the minimum sentence his client faces amounts to a potential life sentence.

Pennington, Markelonis wrote, suffers from a “myriad of health problems not uncommon for Eastern Kentuckians,” as well as health problems related to his former work as a logger and health problems related to years of alcohol abuse.

“Counsel and Mr. Pennington are aware that the statutory minimum for the offenses that Wayne has pleaded guilty to is 180 months (15 years).” Markelonis wrote. “Certainly, counsel does not to have to remind the court that for a 66-year-old man in Wayne Pennington’s physical condition, such a sentence may in fact be a ‘life sentence.’

Markelonis wrote that he is urging the court sentence Pennington at the lower end of the statutory guidelines.

“In all candor to the court, Mr. Pennington will be fortunate if he is able to serve the minimum statutory sentence and spend his few remaining years outside the confines of the Bureau of Prisons,” he wrote.

According to court documents, between October, 2018, and April of this year, Pennington had an arrangement with a methamphetamine supplier in Louisville, through whom he regularly obtained ounce to multi-ounce quantities of methamphetamine. Pennington, documents said, then distributed to the drug to others in Johnson County where law enforcement was able to conduct several controlled purchases of methamphetamine from Penington.

On April 3, the documents said, law enforcement seized approximately an ounce of methamphetamine from Pennington.

Pennington, who was also convicted in 2010 in connection with a federal investigation into the distribution of oxycodone, pleaded guilty in September to the meth charges.

According to court documents, because of the prior federal conviction, the minimum to which Pennington can be sentenced under federal guidelines is 15 years.

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