BY PHILLIP WILLIAMS
GILMER–A judge sentenced Randy Lee Rodenberg to 25 years in prison last week after he pleaded guilty to “unlawful possession of firearm by felon–habitual offender,” said Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd.
Rodenberg, a Gilmerite who turned 36 the day before his Nov. 5 sentencing, was sentenced by 115th District Judge Lauren Parish, Byrd said. The defendant had at least two prior felony convictions, and faced a punishment range of 25 years to life imprisonment, the prosecutor wrote in a news release.
A jury had been scheduled to be chosen for the case.
Byrd gave this summation of events which occurred last April 16, leading to the charge against Rodenberg:
Investigator Chris Lambert and Sergeant Marc Rider of the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office answered a call concerning marijuana being grown in the defendant’s home. When the officers arrived there and exited their vehicles, they could smell the drug.
Lambert contacted a female in the front yard and identified her as Rodenberg’s wife. Under questioning, she acknowledged she lived there with her husband and two small children.
Lambert told her about the complaint that marijuana was being grown there. When asked if it was being grown in or at the residence, the woman “stated not that she knew of, and then advised that she would call Randy on his cell phone and have him come home.”
In addition, she “began to get very nervous” during the investigation, “and when asked for consent to go inside the residence and look for any marijuana /growing inside, she stated that her house was a mess and didn’t want anyone to go inside.
“Mrs. Rodenberg also stated that she didn’t feel comfortable giving consent without” her husband being there, but Rider told her marijuana could be smelled coming from the home, and that he and Lambert would seek a search warrant for the residence. While Rider was gone to obtain it, the woman admitted that her husband was growing marijuana plants inside the home.
Rider returned with the warrant, resulting in seizing these items: a KSA LLC .22 caliber bolt-action rifle, Mossberg Plinkster .22 caliber rifle, 13 boxes of .22 caliber cartridges, 12 marijuana plants ranging from seedling to mature plants, four bottles of prescription medication prescribed to persons not living at the home, a marijuana pipe, marijuana grinder, binder with instructions for growing marijuana, grow lights, a tent frame, filter, blower, metallic cloth tent, bags of fertilizer, liquid fertilizer bottles, and two drug test kits.
Byrd represented the state at sentencing. Marshall attorney Brendan Roth represented Rodenberg.