The first of two men arrested last summer and charged with cultivating scores of marijuana plants inside the home they shared in Aurora has been sentenced to six months in jail in that case.
Matthew J. Fenton, 30, was ordered to serve 180 days in DuPage County Jail, placed on two years of probation and assessed a total of $5,212 in fines and legal fees, said Paul Darrah, spokesman for DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin.
Fenton and his housemate, ex-convict Gregory F. Accardi, were arrested July 11, following a cooperative investigation by members of the Naperville and Aurora police departments. Detectives allegedly found 230 marijuana plants being grown inside the men’s home at 434 Plaza Place, just northwest of New York Street and Route 59 on Aurora’s far east side.
Darrah said Fenton pleaded guilty to an amended felony charge of producing or possessing more than 50 but not more than 200 cannabis plants. A companion charge of the manufacture or delivery of more than 2,000 but not more than 5,000 grams of marijuana was dismissed.
Judge George J. Bakalis on Tuesday imposed Fenton’s sentence. Darrah said Fenton spent 96 days in jail following his arrest and, with day-for-day credit for good behavior, has already completed that term and been released.
Accardi, 60, is free on bond and scheduled to return Nov. 14 to Bakalis’ courtroom. He faces trial on charges of producing or possessing more than 50 but not more than 200 cannabis plants, the manufacture or delivery of more than 2,000 but not more than 5,000 grams of marijuana, resisting or obstructing a police officer and unlawful use or possession of weapons or ammunition by convicted felons, according to court records.
A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Corrections earlier this year confirmed Accardi in 2004 began serving concurrent, five-year prison terms for a 1998 marijuana-related crime in Kane County and a 2002 case in DeKalb County.
Tom Shaer, the IDOC’s director of communications, said Accardi was imprisoned after being convicted of a felony charge of the manufacture and delivery of cannabis in the Kane County case and charges of possession of cannabis and the manufacture and delivery of cannabis in the DeKalb County matter.
Accardi and his wife were found guilty in Kane County Circuit Court of unlawful possession of cannabis. Illinois State Police on Sept. 13, 1992 flew an airplane over part of the property they owned at Route 38 and Meredith Road near Maple Park, and determined 45 marijuana plants were being grown there inside a locked barn and near a chicken coop.
The Accardis’ convictions were overturned by an Illinois Appellate Court panel, whose members ruled police had conducted a “warrant-less search” of the property.
In an August 1999 decision, a U.S. Court of Appeals panel upheld the couple’s forfeiture of the property stemming from that arrest. The Accardis had filed a motion to dismiss the property seizure, but a U. S. District Court judge decreed that action had come too late in the proceedings.