A criminal drug case that shocked the Hannibal community came to an abrupt end Monday afternoon when a former principal charged with intent to distribute pleaded guilty.

A criminal drug case that shocked the Hannibal community came to an abrupt end Monday afternoon when a former principal charged with intent to distribute pleaded guilty.

J.D. Foust, former A.D. Stowell Elementary Principal, waived his preliminary hearing and entered the plea before Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd in Marion County Circuit Court.

Foust received a 10-year sentence on a Class B felony of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute, but may only serve a fraction of that time. As part of a plea agreement, he will first enter a 120-day Department of Corrections institutional treatment program.

If successful in the program, Foust may be granted probation. If he fails in his treatment program, the Board of Probation and Parole can recommend that he remain in jail after the 120-day program ends. Additionally, if Foust violates any terms and conditions of probation, if it is granted at the conclusion of the program, he may serve the full 10 years.

“The please agreement is the result of many factors, namely that the defendant was very cooperative with law enforcement, that the defendant had no criminal history, and that the defendant promptly took personal responsibility for his actions and admitted that he was a drug addict that hoped to turn his life around,” Marion County prosecuting attorney David N. Clayton said.

Clayton explained that Foust served several months in custody before the agreement Monday, and that coupled with the DOC treatment program, he will have served between eight and nine months in jail before the possibility of probation.

“Even if successfully discharged from probation down the road, he won’t be able to escape his past,” Clayton said. “He will have a permanent conviction on his record that should prevent him from ever working with children again. That is a primary concern of mine.”

Clayton said no evidence existed to show that Foust used or distributed drugs at the school. He had resigned from his position about 60 days before his arrest.