A Davenport man who pleaded guilty to helping an Iowa cancer patient grow marijuana in his home in 2013 turned himself in Wednesday to begin serving his five-year prison sentence.
Online Scott County Jail records show that Stephen Robert Bloomer, 51, was booked into the jail at 9:30 a.m. to await transport to prison.
Bloomer pleaded guilty in Scott County District Court in June 2014, the first day of jury selection in his trial, to manufacturing marijuana.
At 5:40 a.m. June 21, 2013, Scott County Sheriff’s deputies searched a home in the 27000 block of 183rd Avenue, Eldridge, as part of a narcotics investigation.
Benton Mackenzie, 49, lived at the house with his wife, Loretta, 45, and son, Cody, 25. The family lived with Benton Mackenzie’s parents, Charles and Dorothy.
Inside an RV and trailer parked next to the house, deputies discovered 60 to 70 marijuana plants, as well as electrical, ventilation and water equipment, according to testimony in the McKenzie’s trial in July 2014.
They also found marijuana in a safe under Cody Mackenzie's bed and smoking pipes and other paraphernalia were found in his bedroom and in the house, according to testimony.
The RV was registered to the mother of Bloomer, a longtime friend of Benton Mackenzie.
Benton Mackenzie admitted to deputies that the RV belonged to Bloomer but denied that Bloomer or his wife and son were involved with growing marijuana.
Benton Mackenzie was diagnosed with angiosarcoma in 2011. He said he grew marijuana in order to treat his cancer with oil derived from the plant. Iowa law does not allow medicinal necessity as a legal defense.
Benton, Loretta and Cody Mackenzie were found guilty at trial and were ultimately sentenced to probation. Benton Mackenzie died in January 2015.
Bloomer was sentenced in September 2014 to five years in prison. District Court Judge Henry Latham said at the time that Bloomer had a “substantial” criminal record that includes a 2004 conviction for growing marijuana.
"I was morally justified in what I did," Bloomer told the Quad-City Times after the 2014 hearing. "I don't regret it."
Bloomer posted a $5,000 bond after sentencing and remained free pending the outcome of his appeal.
In November, the Iowa Court of Appeals upheld his conviction, and he was ordered to turn himself in Wednesday.
The court also upheld the convictions of Loretta and Cody Mackenzie.