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3 'Grannies' Get Probation in Crystal Sales

July 07, 2001|CAROL CHAMBERS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Three Lancaster sisters who have run a feed store for four decades were sentenced Friday to three years' probation for failing to properly record sales of iodine crystals used to treat hoof disease and make methamphetamine.

Armitta Mae Granicy, 60, Dorothy Jean Manning, 67, and Ramona Ann Beck, 62, who call themselves the "Lancaster Grannies," had faced up to a year in jail under a new state law requiring merchants to keep detailed logs on sales of the crystals. They were convicted April 13.

In imposing the sentences, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David M. Mintz said he decided against jail terms because the women were longtime Antelope Valley residents with no criminal records. Mintz ordered them not to sell iodine in any form at the store, Granicy's Valley Wide Feed.

He also ordered Granicy to pay $2,000 in fines and restitution, Manning $250, and Beck $200. The judge also required Granicy to perform 100 hours of community service.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Sherwood said he was happy with the sentences. He had argued that Granicy, who owns the store with her husband, "knew iodine was used to make meth and she was selling to drug dealers."

Granicy and her sisters--Manning and Beck work at the store--denied the allegation. Their attorneys have already filed an appeal of the convictions.

"You're not going to pay 50 cents--not 50 cents," attorney Robert Sheahen told Beck and Manning, his clients.

Granicy arrived at the Lancaster courthouse holding her husband's hand, while Beck and Manning walked beside her with arms linked. Joining them in the courtroom were about two dozen supporters. The sisters sat quietly with teary eyes as Mintz delivered the sentences.

In written comments that Mintz said were too numerous to count, supporters described the women to the court as people of principle and integrity. One statement read aloud by Sheahen stated, "These ladies are angels among us."

But Mintz said Granicy knew she was breaking the law and did her sisters an "immense disservice" by allowing them to violate it as well. "There was a certain arrogance," the judge added, referring to Granicy's public statements that she thought the law was unjust.

Mintz also said Granicy made $40,000 in 15 months selling the crystals. The women and Granicy's husband, Robert Roy Granicy, 63, were the first to be tried under the statute, which requires merchants to log information such as driver's and vehicle license numbers for all buyers of the crystals. After 12 days of trial and four days of deliberations, a jury convicted the women on misdemeanor counts and acquitted Robert Granicy.

In March, the four defendants had rejected a plea bargain in which all charges would have been dismissed if they paid a $500 fine and stopped selling the $16 jars of crystals for two years.

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