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Man facing drug, gun possession charges
by Amanda Sexton Ferguson, Editor and Publisher
May 15, 2014 | 438 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WINONA – Judge Devo Lancaster bound a man over to the action of the grand jury Tuesday on charges of possession of cocaine and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Kunta Kinta Blissett of Winona is currently being held on a $100,000 bond at the Carroll-Montgomery Regional Correctional Facility in Vaiden.

Winona public defender Lee Bailey was appointed Blissett’s attorney, however, he was not present in court Tuesday due to a conflict. Blissett insisted on waiving his right to an attorney and represented himself in a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Winona City Court.

According to the testimony of Captain Billy Nix with the Winona Police Department that Monday afternoon, officers were dispatched to a disturbance at the intersection of Campbell and Cade Streets in Winona.

“The caller reported a man was brandishing a gun at Campbell and Cade Streets,” Nix said. “Someone on the scene identified Blissett as the man.”

Nix said witnesses reported the armed man left in a car, and Nix was on the lookout for the vehicle. He said he came across Blissett in his vehicle at Muno’s Stop and Go at the corner of Summit and Applegate Streets.

“I could smell marijuana coming from the car,” Nix said. “I kept him in the car until Sgt. [Ryan] Smith got there because I knew from past experience he could be a handful.”

Nix said that once Smith arrived, Blissett’s vehicle was searched and loose cocaine in a plastic bag allegedly was found in the vehicle’s console with another plastic bag containing “48 individual baggies” of cocaine, a bag containing crack cocaine, and marijuana. Also allegedly found in the vehicle was a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson handgun, which was fully-loaded, and 58 bullets fitting the weapon were found in the console of the car.

Nix testified that Blissett was previously convicted of breaking and entering in Winona in 2001/2002.

Nix explained that he did a field test on the suspected cocaine and the test revealed the substance tested positive for cocaine.

“He also had in the vehicle a large hunting knife and a machete between the seat and the console,” Nix said.

During cross examination, Blissett asked Nix several questions regarding the arrest and investigation. Blissett asked if he had a passenger in the vehicle with him during the arrest, to which Nix confirmed, and if police questioned the passenger at the scene.

Smith, who was called to the stand by Blissett, stated that after checking the passenger’s identification and determining no warrants were outstanding, the man was let go.

After cross examination, Lancaster ruled to bind Blissett over to the action of the grand jury. Blissett responded that he had diplomatic immunity, which Lancaster disputed.

In other city court news, felony kidnapping charges against Ashley M. Leach of Kilmichael were reduced to misdemeanor disturbance of the family in a plea agreement with the prosecution.

According to court statements from Winona prosecutor Putt Crull, charges stemmed from an incident involving the two-year-old son of her former boyfriend.

According to Crull, “[Leach] was wrong, but not felony wrong.”

Leach was sentenced to pay a $647.25 fine

Montgomery County Justice Court

Rudy Glen Johnson, 54, of Winona was bound over to the action of a Montgomery County Grand Jury for felony driving under the influence. Johnson, represented by public defender Lee Bailey, waived his preliminary hearing. Judge Larry Bamberg set bond at $5,000.

The case against James Henry Blakes, 60, of Winona was continued until May 21. Blakes was originally charged with second offense driving under the influence, but that charge was amended to third offense driving under the influence, a felony, by prosecutor Lane Greenlee.

Blakes remains out on bond.

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