Mayor of Jamaica, Iowa, gets probation after growing marijuana in her home

Mayor of Jamaica, Iowa, gets probation after growing marijuana in her home

By Anna Spoerre

The mayor of Jamaica, Iowa, and her husband were arrested in January after a search for a shooting suspect led deputies to the mayor's door, behind which they found pots of marijuana.

LaDonna Kennedy, 51, then the mayor of Jamaica, a central Iowa town with about 220 residents, was sentenced Friday to two years of probation after pleading guilty to manufacturing, delivering or possessing drugs with the intent to manufacture or deliver marijuana and failure to affix a drug tax stamp. 

Her husband, Randy Kennedy, 59, received the same sentence earlier this month.

The Kennedys were arrested on Jan. 16 after members of the Guthrie Country sheriff's office went to the mayor's Jamaica home around 4:20 p.m. in search of 18-year-old Rodney Halterman, whom police suspected shot a woman in the chest in Ames, court records show.

While deputies didn't find Halterman at the Kennedy home, they did find 18 marijuana plants in "various states of growth" as part of what the sheriff's office in January called "a marijuana-grow operation."

The sheriff's office also found drug paraphernalia, an unlabeled bottle with 24 white pills identified as Lorazepam and nine baggies, containing roughly 4 to 5 ounces of marijuana, though that was a rough estimate, a deputy wrote in charging documents.

LaDonna Kennedy resigned as mayor after her arrest.

Randy Kennedy's attorney, Sean Spellman, said he was pleased with the outcome of the case, calling his client a hardworking, honest and upstanding member of the community.  

Spellman on Monday said the Kennedys were "in no way, shape or form a distributor of drugs," adding that the couple was not growing marijuana for monetary gain, but rather for personal use.

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