GEORGETOWN, Texas — A 19-year-old facing life in prison on charges he made brownies with hash oil in his apartment learned Wednesday his case would be presented to a grand jury for indictment in two weeks.
During a pre-trial hearing, Jacob Lavoro also was told the long-awaited lab results that reveal just how much hash oil were in the brownies Lavoro is accused of making with the intent to sell have come in.
"I don't have it yet (lab results). But he's advised me he's going to get that too me as soon as possible," Lavoro's attorney Jack Holmes said in court.
Back in April, a pregnant neighbor called Round Rock police saying the smell of smoke coming from Lavoro's apartment was making her sick. Officers say Lavoro made pot brownies that contained THC or hash oil. Officers weighed the brownies in their container and charged Lavoro with having nearly one and half pounds of drugs with the intent to sell, a first-degree felony that carries a punishment of 10 years to life in prison.
According to the arrest affidavit, officers also confiscated THC in a container, $1,600 and an apparent client list.
"Mr. McDonald advised there was a total amount of 2.5 grams of THC found in all of that stuff. I expected a little bit more out of it, but that's what it is. That's about the equivalent to two and a half of those sugar things you find at a restaurant when you sit down," said Holmes.
Holmes now wants the charges reduced to a second-degree felony, based on the actual amount of drugs found. That would reduce the punishment range to two to 20 years or probation.
"Why we're proceeding, you know, with a trial on this is kind of beyond me but Mr. McDonald advised me that he wasn't going to go away with the case," said Holmes.
Still, Lavoro's supporters are optimistic. They gathered before the hearing and after it was complete, delivered a petition with more than 243,000 signatures to the District Attorney's Office requesting charges be reduced.
First Assistant DA Mark Brunner spoke with KVUE News over the phone. He said Lavoro is already facing a second-degree felony for drugs found in the apartment, so it is likely his charge could be reduced. But he points out it's not because of public outcry, it's just procedure.
Regardless of the reason, Lavoro said he is hoping for the best.
"I'm 19 years old, and I still have my whole life ahead of me. Take that into account, and I can do more good than evil," Lavoro said.
Once Lavoro is indicted, his attorney is hoping to have a hearing set on a motion he filed to suppress evidence. Holmes said officers unlawfully entered Lavoro's apartment.
"They just bowed their way in because they thought because they smelled marijuana in the apartment, they thought they had permission right then based on the law, and they're wrong about that," he explained. Holmes, a former police officer, said that justification would have been enough if Lavoro was in a vehicle, but it's not the case for a residence.
Round Rock police previously say Lavoro's girlfriend, who lived with him, let them into their apartment. Lavoro said that's not true, and he did not consent to a search.
"That's going to be a very important hearing because if the judge rules in our favor, the case is over," said Holmes. He is hoping the hearing will be set for later in September.
Lavoro's next court appearance is Sept. 4.