JAMAICA, Iowa -- An arrest involving illegal drugs can often give a community an unpleasant blemish but when LaDonna Kennedy, the former Mayor of Jamaica, Iowa and her husband Randy were arrested and found to be growing 18 marijuana plants on their property the community rallied. "I'm gonna tell you what, Randy will do anything for anybody. He is a great awesome guy," said Tommy Scheuermann who owns a local bar and grille called Tojos. She says the Kennedys are a strong piece of what makes the Guthrie County town of 220 people home. "He's a tree trimmer and he helps the elderly that can`t afford to do it. He`ll go trim the trees for them for free."
It`s that community involvement that Randy`s attorney Sean Spellman believes may have been able to get Randy and LaDonna a plea deal this week resulting in two years probation. Spellman said, "He was cooperative and accepted responsibility for what he had done. There were no victims of this incident, no one was harmed by this incident."
In January, Greene county and Guthrie County officials obtained a search warrant after they believed Rodney Halterman, a man wanted for attempted murder in Ames, had been at the Kennedy home. Once inside, law enforcement did not find Halterman but did find the marijuana. "We had concerns that there were alterior motives to gain access to the home," Spellman said.
LaDonna and Randy both faced several charges including possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Randy`s lawyer claims the plants were solely for the Kennedys. "Absolutely no intent of distribution or delivery to individuals," said Spellman.
Scheuermann says the Kennedys have already expressed remorse. "Randy came out and said are you mad at me and I go why would I be mad at you? I said 'Randy I smoked it back in the eighties."
The incident has now sparked a deep conversation in town about the need for legalizing marijuana in Iowa. Scheuermann said, "It is no different than how we drink beer or we drink our alcohol. What is the difference?"
A small town with a forgiving heart for their people. "Would it have gotten attention if it wasn`t the mayor? No, absolutely not. They are still part of our community. They are great people of our community," Scheuermann said.
The Kennedys must follow a no drugs, alcohol or firearms policy while on probation. Both have the opportunity to receive a shortened probation based on good behavior.