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Man gets 12 months for false name conviction

A Fayette County jury today found a Savannah man not guilty of possession of methamphetamine, but guilty of giving a sheriff’s deputy a false name and date of birth.

Bruce Bernard Townsend, 38, was sentenced to 12 months in prison on the misdemeanor charge by Superior Court Judge Christopher C. Edwards.

Townsend was accused of possessing a pipe that tested positive for methamphetamine that was found inside the back of a patrol car immediately after he was arrested.

Townsend testified in the case, saying he admitting that he gave the false name and date of birth to the deputy but saying the pipe was not his and that he had not seen it before.

Assistant District Attorney David Younker in his closing argument noted that the deputy had not arrested anyone else that day prior to Townsend so the pipe had to be Townsend’s. He also noted that searching the backseat of the patrol car following an arrest is part of the deputy’s routine.

Townsend’s attorney, Emily Bass, argued that the prosecution could not prove the pipe was his because no fingerprint evidence was submitted as proof, nor was the item discovered during the deputy’s patdown of her client.

Younker noted that the deputy testified that that patdown was not a detailed one looking only for weapons and not contraband.

The deputy made contact with Townsend at the intersection of Westbridge Road and Westbridge Circle Feb. 10, 2009 after 1 a.m. while investigating a suspicious vehicle, according to the warrant for his arrest.

Townsend explained to the jury that he gave the deputy a false name and date of birth because he hoped to be released quickly since his girlfriend was due to give birth.

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