A 24-year-old Columbia man was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in the Howard County detention center for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
Elijah Jackson of the 5200 block of Rivendell Lane was running away from police after a fight outside a house party last June when 23 packets of crack cocaine and one packet of powdered cocaine fell out of his hat, prosecutors said. They had asked Circuit Judge Lenore R. Gelfman to sentence Jackson to three years in prison, but Gelfman opted to send him to the detention center out of concern for his safety.
Jackson had been the intended target of a botched robbery that ended in the May 2008 shooting death of Jason Batts. Three men who police said planned and carried out the robbery and shooting were given long prison sentences last year. Police identified the men as members of the Bloods gang.
Gelfman also said that Jackson's resistance to joining gangs and his pursuit of his high school equivalency certificate factored into her sentence.