MARQUETTE - In an emotional plea to the sentencing judge, Todd Wentworth asked for leniency in Marquette County Circuit Court Wednesday morning.
"This is a chance to do what's right and to be with my son and raise him," Wentworth said, addressing Judge Thomas Solka as the judge looked at photographs of Wentworth with his family. "I want to have a family, and a real family, not no in-between or half. I want to have the life that I never got when I was a kid. And when it's all said and done, you can look at those pictures and you can see what I have."
Wentworth, 32, of Ishpeming, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to one count of conspiracy to operate a methamphetamine lab and was facing up to 20 years in prison.
Shackled and in a striped jail jumpsuit, Wentworth sat beside his attorney, Karl Numinen, as Numinen argued Wentworth was a changed man since the birth of his son.
"He's got something, he's got a star in the sky he can shoot for, he's got some hope, he has some reason to live," Numinen said. "He has a purpose now that has never been there before for him and I think he's got the ability and the capacity to change, to change his life, and that is his son."
Wentworth's son was born since his arrest in January.
Marquette County Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Wiese called Wentworth "one of the most difficult inmates the Marquette County Jail has had to manage in quite some time," and said he should be sentenced to prison.
Wentworth's plea for leniency came during a lengthy statement in which he was overcome with emotion on several occasions, pausing to gain control of himself before continuing.
Wentworth wanted to be placed in Marquette County Jail so he could still visit regularly with his son. Solka sentenced Wentworth to between seven and 20 years in prison, citing his long criminal history and the serious charge against him.
"Methamphetamine is one of the most pervasive and cancerous drugs in our society and our community ... It has affected children, it has affected many innocent people and it is a danger and scourge in this community," Solka said.
Wentworth was immediately remanded to the Michigan Department of Corrections upon completion of the hearing.
Ishpeming Police Chief Dan Willey said a November 2012 investigation into a meth lab in his city led to warrants being issued for Wentworth's arrest.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.