KINGMAN - Russell Shields pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine for sale prior to the start of his trial on Tuesday, but there is still a jury in his future.
The conviction carries a mandatory prison term averaging 10 years, according to Superior Court Judge Derek Carlisle
The Kingman man still awaits trial on a murder charge related to the July 2011 shooting death of Alberto Orozco.
Carlisle made it very clear to Shields that his guilty plea could have an effect on the murder case if the defendant is convicted of killing Orozco over a drug debt. Already a felon, Shields could be deemed a habitual criminal.
Shields' attorney told the court her client agreed to plead guilty because "it's the one in which the police have the most evidence."
Shields was arrested at his Apache Street home in October 2010 with about 150 grams of methamphetamine in his possession.
He told police he received a shipment of the street drug the night before and had already sold six ounces. He also told police his occupation was drug dealer.
Shields will be sentenced May 31.
On May 17, a status hearing will be held to possibly schedule a trial date on the murder charge.
John Langan, who was present at Orozco's murder that day and who abandoned Orozco's car on a Kingman street with his body in the passenger seat, pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution and will be sentenced Friday.