Former DMR worker, co-defendant get prison for distributing meth

A former state worker, arrested along with a man on federal charges of distributing meth in Jackson County, is headed to prison.

Judge Sul Ozerden sentenced Elizabeth “Libby” Denyer, daughter of Ocean Springs Alderman Greg Denyer, and Dustin Powell on Friday.

The judge sentenced Denyer, a former employee of the state Department of Marine Resources and the University of Southern Mississippi’s Cedar Point office in Ocean Springs, to six years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. He sentenced Powell to eight years and three months followed by three years of supervised release. He also fined them $5,000 each.

A federal grand jury had indicted the two on charges of distributing 50 or more grams of meth in Jackson County since August 2014. The grand jury indicted Denyer on an additional meth conspiracy charge.

Both pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

The judge has allowed them to remain free pending their designation to a federal prison.

Twelve people wrote letters urging the judge to allow Denyer to remain free so she could be with her daughter.

Among those were Robert Hirsch, former Ocean Springs schools superintendent, and several of Denyer’s friends, family and former teachers.

Denyer’s former employer, Thomas Reynolds, also wrote on her behalf, saying she turned her life around after her arrest and was doing well in her career in the insurance business.

“Libby is a devoted mother,” he wrote. “She consistently spent her off-work hours with her child and her parents. They have a strong family bond.

“Libby has repeatedly expressed regret for the mistakes she made. They were done prior to her becoming pregnant and prior to coming to work for us. We have seen nothing to indicate illegal or unethical behavior and believe that she will not have another occurrence.”

Hirsch echoed the sentiment.

“Libby had actually reached the point of turning her life around upon the birth of her baby, reassessing and changing her life priorities in order to provide for her child while redirecting her own future,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, the past caught up to her at a time when she had begun to move into this new direction, seek personal and financial stability, establish a new persona (including volunteer work for Louisiana flood victims and the domestic violence center), and kick off a successful career in insurance.”

Margaret Baker: 228-896-0538, @Margar45