Pubdate: Thu, 13 Jun 2002
Source: Enterprise-Journal, The (MS)
Copyright: 2002 The Enterprise-Journal
Author: David Bruser, Staff Writer
Note: This article is posted in exception to MAP's general policy not to 
archive articles concerning individual drug arrests or trials, because of 
its detail and vivid coverage of the trial testimony.
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


LIBERTY -- Tim and Jan Homan, a Smithdale couple facing multiple drug 
charges, pled guilty this morning before closing arguments could be made.

Circuit Court Judge Al Johnson sentenced the Homans to 20 years on each 
count to run concurrently, five years suspended and post-release supervision.

He also fined them each $5,000 for each count and ordered them to undergo 
intensive drug rehabilitation by the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

The emotional Smithdale couple told a jury Wednesday how they lost their 
dogs and home to fire but denied knowing anything about the several 
thousand dollars worth of methamphetamine that officials found on the scene.

Meanwhile, 12 jurors got a crash chemistry course, hearing much about how 
certain hazardous chemicals can produce a highly addictive drug.

Tim Homan, 47, and Jan Homan, 42, both of 6574 Bales Road, are charged with 
manufacturing 106.7 grams of methamphetamine, possession of 106.7 grams of 
methamphetamine and possession of two or more precursors with intent to 
manufacture methamphetamine. The trial entered its third day today in the 
Amite County Circuit Court.

The fire reportedly started around 8:50 a.m. on Jan. 26, when Tim Homan 
tried to hook a butane tank to a space heater.

Firemen from four departments went to the scene, including Bill Sharp of 
the East Central Volunteer Fire Department. He testified that upon arrival 
he immediately smelled anhydrous ammonia, a fertilizer and key ingredient 
in meth production.

"The anhydrous ammonia hit me in my face. You could smell it," he said of 
the corrosive chemical. "So, I told the boys, 'Y'all back off.' "

Testifying for the state, William Jacob McDermott, Jan Homan's son, said 
his family operated a meth lab that produced 14, sometimes 28 grams per week.

"We cooked using anhydrous ammonia and ether," he said.

McDermott, 24, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine but 
sentencing is delayed until the conclusion of the Homans' trial. He also 
faces desertion charges brought by the U.S. Air Force.

Tim Homan denied his stepson's allegations.

"A young man that's done all he's done ... I think what he's done was 
downright cold-hearted," he said of McDermott's plea.

When asked by District Attorney Ronnie Harper about her relationship with 
her son, Jan Homan started screaming and slammed her fist on the witness stand.

"That's my son, and I love my son," she said, then stood and left the stand 
without being excused. She sat next to her attorney and hugged a stuffed 

"I hate him," she said, looking at Harper.

Judge Johnson recessed for five minutes. Trying to restrain an agitated 
Jan, Tim bearhugged her as they walked to the courthouse balcony to smoke a 

Sheriff's deputy Tim Wroten and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics agent 
Conner Magee testified they found numerous items strewn on the property, 
all synonymous with meth labs; a vial with meth residue inside a Betty Boop 
watch tin; 50-pound tank filled with anhydrous ammonia sitting in a dugout 
beneath the mobile home; a gas mask; ether; a meth recipe downloaded from 
the Internet, titled "Methamphetamine Synthesis;" and a plastic tea pitcher 
containing ammonia, ether and 106.7 grams of finished product.

"Every step you take, you find more and more things," Magee said during a 
pre-trial motion Tuesday.

The Homans claimed they never knew about the anhydrous ammonia tank.

"I've never picked up a tank of anhydrous ammonia," Tim said. "I wouldn't 
even know where to get a tank of anhydrous ammonia."

He admitted he used ether but only for working on diesel engines.

"When you look at the back of the ether can, it will tell this is what it's 
used for," he said.

The defense also claimed Magee never had permission to search the property.

But Magee said Tim Homan consented verbally to a search.

On Tuesday Judge Johnson denied a motion to suppress evidence resulting 
from the search. Defense attorney Richard Chafin of Denham Springs, La., 
filed the motion.

Johnson said officials were justified in looking for chemicals that might 
accelerate the fire.

"Clearly the officers had the right to ascertain which dangerous conditions 
were present," he said. "So there was clearly an emergency situation."

As for the 106.7 grams of meth, the Homans claimed it wasn't theirs.

Lawmen found the meth in a motor home on the Homan property. The vehicle's 
owner, Jack Huber, once lived with the Homans but reportedly is now in the 
Tangipahoa Parish jail for methamphetamine manufacturing. Louisiana 
officials arrested Huber in December, more than one month before the 
Smithdale fire occurred.

Chafin suggested Huber made the dope found on the Homan property. He asked 
Magee and Wroten why they never tried testing for fingerprints on the 
precursors and paraphernalia.

Harper dismissed the idea that someone other than the Homans made the dope.

"Could anyone have been living out there and not known what was going on?" 
he asked Magee.

"No sir."

The Homans behaved erratically throughout the trial. The first day of the 
trial both Tim and Jan fidgeted.

Johnson said, "I heard what you testified to and it was totally 
unbelievable. It's just my opinion but you two were possibly under the 
influence of drugs when you came here."

Johnson said this morning he intended to sentence McDermott to eight years.

The Homans embraced as they admitted to the charges against them and after 
receiving the sentence.

Jan screamed out, "15 years?"

The Homans were then led off in handcuffs.
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MAP posted-by: Jackl