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Former Currier Residents Admit Drug Possession

Both Students Given 2 Years' Probation

By Courtney A. Coursey

Stephen V. David and William A. Blankenship, former members of the Class of 1996, changed their pleas from not guilty to guilty on charges of possession of hallucinogens, marijuana and ketamine at a status hearing yesterday morning at the Middlesex County Courthouse.

Sentencing occurred immediately after the hearing. Neither student will serve any time in jail.

The two former Currier House residents received suspended sentences and were placed on probation for two years. In addition, they must attend drug evaluation and counseling sessions and pay court costs of $2,500, said Jill Reilly, press spokesperson for the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office.

"They came in and said that they were changing their pleas and admitting to the crimes," Riley said. Blankenship and David also "admitted to sufficient fact" on the charges of "possession of a class B substance with an intent to distribute," she added.

The class B substances in question were LSD and ecstasy.

Last April, the former students were charged with two counts of possession with intent to distribute a class B controlled substance, one count of possessing a class D controlled substance.

Since Blankenship and David lived in Currier's Gilbert Hall, which is within 1,000 feet of Peabody School, an elementary school, they were also charged with two counts of drug violation in a school or park zone.

If the former students had been convicted on these two charges, they would have been sentenced to two years for each count with no chance of reduction or suspension of the sentence until the two years were served.

Both were charged after a six- to eight-week drug investigation by the Harvard University Police Department. Student informers and an undercover cop posing as a student facilitated the investigation.

April 10, 1996, marked the culmination of the investigation, when Harvard University Police officers execut- vard University Police officers executed a search warrant for David's and Blankenship's rooms.

Blankenship and David's plea changes come at the end of a string of pre-trial conferences and hearings which began May 22.

"I'm happy for them that the whole thing is over with" said Currier House Senior Tutor John D. Stubbs '80.

Currier House Master Professor William A. Graham had no comment when reached last night.

Both students were arrested when police discovered the illicit drugs while executing the search warrant, and pleaded not guilty to all charges after arrest.

In June, David's lawyer, Eliot Weinstein, said he planned to contest the legality of the warrants police used to search his client's room. According to Weinstein, there was "not sufficient showing of probable cause to search Mr. David's room." Weinstein was not available to comment yesterday's hearing.

David had no comment on the events of the hearing when reached last night at his home in Somerville. Blankenship could not be reached for comment.

Neither Blankenship nor David received their diplomas at the 1996 June Commencement as they were not in "good standing with the University," a condition required in order to earn a Harvard degree.

The former seniors were wellknown on campus, and their arrest upset many undergraduates, particularly Currier residents.

Tobias B. Jasper '97, who volunteered with David at the University Lutheran Church Homeless shelter said that he was "glad" to hear the result of the hearing.

"The verdict sounds fair to me Jasper said. "That was a freak accident that it was in a school zone.

Blankenship and David's plea changes come at the end of a string of pre-trial conferences and hearings which began May 22.

"I'm happy for them that the whole thing is over with" said Currier House Senior Tutor John D. Stubbs '80.

Currier House Master Professor William A. Graham had no comment when reached last night.

Both students were arrested when police discovered the illicit drugs while executing the search warrant, and pleaded not guilty to all charges after arrest.

In June, David's lawyer, Eliot Weinstein, said he planned to contest the legality of the warrants police used to search his client's room. According to Weinstein, there was "not sufficient showing of probable cause to search Mr. David's room." Weinstein was not available to comment yesterday's hearing.

David had no comment on the events of the hearing when reached last night at his home in Somerville. Blankenship could not be reached for comment.

Neither Blankenship nor David received their diplomas at the 1996 June Commencement as they were not in "good standing with the University," a condition required in order to earn a Harvard degree.

The former seniors were wellknown on campus, and their arrest upset many undergraduates, particularly Currier residents.

Tobias B. Jasper '97, who volunteered with David at the University Lutheran Church Homeless shelter said that he was "glad" to hear the result of the hearing.

"The verdict sounds fair to me Jasper said. "That was a freak accident that it was in a school zone.

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