Christopher Pierre Hicks, 31, and Suzette Marie Calloway, 29, of 145 Nason St. in Rossville were found guilty by a federal jury of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, attempt to manufacture, and endangering life. Sentencing has been scheduled for Dec. 20 at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. District Judge Harold L. Murphy in Rome.
The federal charges, and pending murder charges in Catoosa County, stem from a Feb. 17, 2001, fire that destroyed the couple’s home and caused serious injuries to their 15-month-old son, who died four months later.
Investigators said the fire resulted from an exploding pot of methamphetamine that Hicks was cooking in front of friends and family.
The couple was returned Oct. 15 to the Catoosa County Detention Center, where they are being held without bond to await a March 2003 trial date on the felony murder charge in Catoosa Superior Court, Catoosa Sheriff Phil Summers said.
“There’s no question that the injuries and death of the child was a direct result of a fire that occurred because of an explosion of a methamphetamine lab that the mother and father were operating,” Summers said. “We feel very justified in bringing felony murder charges against them and we feel comfortable that we have an excellent case to present to a jury.”
Following the explosion that critically injured their son, Hicks and Calloway fled to Kentucky and were apprehended by Kentucky authorities a few months later.
“They were arrested in Kentucky because they had been purchasing the chemicals and items necessary to manufacture methamphetamine,” Summers said. “Apparently, they were right back in the same situation setting up a lab to manufacture methamphetamine, even after the injury and death of their child.”
The three counts Hicks and Calloway were convicted of allow for a maximum of 20 years in federal prison on each count. The federal district court judge is expected to base his sentencing decision on the amount of drugs that prosecutors prove the couple produced.
Evidence presented in court showed the couple was producing methamphetamine, also known as “crank,” in a clandestine lab at their home. Despite pleas from friends to stop after several batches blew up in their small house, the couple continued cooking and using drugs in front of their two young children, the evidence showed