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SC Man Gets Life Term Without Parole For 3rd Drug Offense

Prison bars
WFAE File Photo
A South Carolina man was sentenced to life in prison for his third felony drug conviction.

YORK, S.C. — A South Carolina man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for possessing cocaine with intent to distribute, his third felony drug conviction.

The Rock Hill Herald reports 41-year-old Ricky Dean Tate was sentenced Thursday. Tate said he could've gotten only eight years in prison if he accepted a plea deal, but he instead went to trial.

One of Tate's defense attorneys, Jim Morton, says there's something tragically wrong with Tate's sentence over $150 worth of cocaine. State law allows such punishments for certain third-strike drug offenses with defendants who have previous convictions, like Tate, who already served 18 years for drug offenses.

Tate told the court he'd been in and out of prison his whole life, with convictions starting when he was a child in 1991.