PAOLA — Kevin L. Stevens, who was present during a middle-of-the-night drug deal that resulted in the death of 23-year-old Heather Briggs in July 2017, was arrested Friday, Jan. 31, on drug charges.

Stevens, 31, was arrested on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia late Friday evening after a resident called in suspicious activity at Casey’s General Store, located at 404 S. Silver St., according to a news release from the Paola Police Department.

Paola police officers responded to the scene and seized methamphetamine and paraphernalia during the investigation. Stevens was booked into the Miami County Jail and later formerly charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Possession of methamphetamine is a drug severity level 5 nonperson felony punishable by 10 to 42 months in state prison and a possible fine not to exceed $100,000, according to court records.

Possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class B nonperson misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in the county jail and a possible fine not to exceed $1,000.

A bond appearance hearing for Stevens is scheduled to take place at 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, at the Miami County Courthouse.

After being incarcerated for more than a year following the drug deal gone bad that resulted in Briggs’ death in July 2017, Stevens was found not guilty of felony murder and drug distribution by a Miami County jury in October 2018.

Briggs was killed after being run over during a drug deal west of Paola. The incident took place at about 2 a.m. July 21, 2017, in the 31500 block of Lookout Road.

Seven people who were allegedly involved in the deal were arrested and charged shortly after the incident. Five of those defendants were sentenced after accepting plea deals, but Stevens and codefendant Michael Pearce both pleaded not guilty to their charges.

Stevens, who was represented by attorney John Boyd of Ottawa, denied involvement with the drug deal. Boyd said his client was “in the wrong place at the wrong time” and asleep in the vehicle at the start of the deal.

Pearce’s jury trial took place in April 2019, and he was found guilty of felony murder, guilty of distributing more than 3.5 grams of methamphetamine and guilty of making a criminal threat. He was found not guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Pearce was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility for parole until after 25 years for the felony murder charge; 130 months (10 years and 10 months) in prison for the drug distribution charge; and six months in prison for the criminal threat charge.

Editor and Publisher Brian McCauley can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or brian.mccauley@miconews.com.

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