A disabled man who was caught growing marijuana when police investigated his wife's accidental fatal fall at their northern New Jersey home is now headed to prison.
Darren Kent of Rockaway Township received a three-year sentence and must serve at least one year before he becomes eligible for parole.
Kent had pleaded guilty last September to possessing a firearm while committing a drug offense. In return, Morris County prosecutors dropped charges that he ran a drug production facility.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
Kent's lawyer says his client grew marijuana for his own use to ease his pain and occasionally shared some with friends. The 54-year-old Kent has been disabled since he broke his back in a 1994 work-related accident.
Kent was charged after police smelled raw marijuana when they arrived at his home in May 2013. A search then uncovered systems for lighting, irrigation and ventilation along with harvested marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Kent's 56-year-old wife, Donna, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her death was eventually ruled an accident.
The Daily Record of Parsippany reports that Kent became emotional during Friday's court hearing and apologized for his actions.
"What I did was wrong and I'll never do it again,'' he said.
State Superior Court Judge Mary Gibbons Whipple told Kent that she understood the medical reasons he cited for using marijuana. But she also noted that the state does not allow residents to cultivate the drug for such purposes.