A Chattanooga man who spent 14 1/2 years at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary is set to go back behind bars.
Gary Dewayne Cross, 42, on Tuesday was sentenced by Judge Travis McDonough to serve eight years in federal prison.
He had initially been facing much more time with an initial guideline range of 262-327 months due to his meeting the category of an armed career criminal.
That was adjusted to 235-293 months at the sentencing hearing, and prosecutor Chris Poole said he agreed that he deserved "a big variance" down from that.
However, the prosecutor said he did not agree it should drop to the five-year minimum. He said Cross may have been selling only marijuana and not more serious drugs, but he had three long guns at his residence, including two AK-type weapons.
Cross had said, "I live in Vietnam" - indicating his being in a dangerous neighborhood was the reason for the weapons.
Chattanooga Police in the fall of 2017 began using a confidential informant to buy marijuana from Cross. A search of his home was carried out on Oct. 12, 2017. It turned up a bag of marijuana, a money counter, three sets of digital scales, a vacuum sealer, $900 in cash and various ammunition.
The guns were a WASR-10 7.62 rifle, a loaded AR15 rifle and a loaded Mossberg 12-gauge pump shotgun.
Cross was in the yard when police arrived and he opened the door for them.
When he was 17, Cross was among those stealing a woman's purse that contained $20,000. The woman's shoulder was injured in the incident. He was also charged in a robbery in which CDs and gold chains were taken from another individual.
Cross received consecutive eight-year sentences on those two cases, then got another consecutive four-year term for his involvement in a jail fight when he was 18.
Attorney Amanda Dunn said Cross had done well after getting out of prison until his 2017 arrest. She said since being on federal bond "he has been a model probationer."
She said he is now afflicted with a kind of multiple sclerosis that comes and goes.
Cross said he never thought he would be in front of a judge again facing years in prison. He said, "I don't want to go back to jail."
With a number of McCallie School students watching, he advised them to "mind the time" and choose carefully their life choices.