Austin man charged with selling drugs from a business acquitted; more trials looming
Published 6:00 pm Wednesday, July 26, 2023
Upcoming trials includes one where accused was allegedly involved in 2021 drive-by shooting
An Austin man on trial for several drug-related offenses as well as violating a DANCO order and fleeing police has been acquitted on all charges.
Terry Izeal Heggs, 40, of Austin was found not guilty on Monday following a trial the previous week.
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Heggs was facing charges of felony first degree drugs with the intent to sell, felony first degree drugs possession, felony second degree drugs sale and felony second degree drug possession.
He was also charged with gross misdemeanor violation of domestic abuse no contact order and misdemeanor fleeing police.
In his decision, the judge ruled that sufficient evidence had not been supplied to establish that drugs discovered at the Wing Bazaar restaurant where Heggs was arrested on Jan. 13, 2023, were in his possession or that he intended to sell them.
It was ruled that the drugs found at the residence, identified as fentanyl and cocaine by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, could not be tied directly to Heggs and cited that “to prove constructive possession, the State must prove more than the defendant’s mere proximity to the contraband or access to the area where the contraband was found.”
According to decision, the judge also ruled that circumstantial evidence presented did not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, pointing out that two other individuals — Sallie Wilson, who Heggs had a prior relationship with and who had a DANCO order against Heggs and Quinton Amos, an investor in Wing Bazaar and who had a prior 2020 conviction in Freeborn County for first degree sales of methamphetamine — also had access to the building.
There was also an unknown owner or owners of the Wing Bazaar real estate.
According to court documents, a confidential reliable informant met with a “target” early in the investigation and later purchased over four grams of fentanyl, split over two different occasions, from Wilson in an adjacent manufactured home park.
A person matching Wilson’s description was later seen walking back to Wing Bazaar by an Austin Police Department detective and entering the building through a backdoor.
When asked later why Wilson was at Wing Bazaar, Heggs claimed he didn’t know she was there and denied contact with Wilson in the months leading up to the Jan. 13 arrest.
It was also determined that it couldn’t be proven that Heggs was attempting to avoid being arrested when he fled out the back. In testimony, Heggs claimed he ran on instinct after hearing a loud bang claiming that Wing Bazaar had been robbed before.
It was ruled that from the time of the first knock and when the words “search warrant” were yelled, it was conceivable that Heggs didn’t hear it or know it was police at the door.
Heggs currently has five more ending court trials in the following months for cases that stretch back to 2021. One of those cases includes being charged with felony drive-by shooting and violent felon in possession of a firearm related to a case from Aug. 20, 2021.
That case is scheduled to go to trial on Aug. 28.
Heggs is also facing trials for further drug-related charges as well as DANCO order violations.
Another case that accuses Heggs of being a predatory offender failing to register and domestic assault is also still on the books, but there are currently no upcoming court dates listed.
Heggs remains in the Mower County Jail.