CASSOPOLIS — A Dowagiac man’s cooperation with authorities paid off Friday in Cass County Circuit Court.
Instead of receiving a minimum three-year prison term as recommended under sentencing guidelines, Nathan Buskirk, 21, received two years of probation based on his cooperation that preceded his guilty plea to methamphetamine and marijuana delivery offenses. Buskirk will serve the first year of his probation in the county jail.
Judge Michael Dodge said he decided to deviate from the guidelines after hearing Assistant Cass Prosecutor Tiffiny Vohwinkle argue that Buskirk’s testimony was instrumental in obtaining convictions of co-defendants. Dale Blunier, Buskirk’s court-appointed attorney, pointed out, too, that his client’s record was relatively clean, except for two juvenile court cases involving child molestation and cruelty to animals.
"He has done what he can to make up for what he’s done,’’ Blunier said.
Dodge said Buskirk on numerous occasions delivered meth and marijuana to confidential police informants last year. Despite his leniency, the judge cautioned Buskirk that he‘s still facing a 36- to 60-month prison sentence should he violate terms of his parole.