SCHENECTADY — A city man with a long history of drug convictions is headed back to prison, this time for 15 years, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
William Hilts, 52, was sentenced this week after a federal jury found him guilty in May of conspiracy to distribute heroin and crack cocaine, as well as distribution, prosecutors said.
Hilts was accused of conspiring with a co-defendant to distribute the drugs in Schenectady from October 2015 until February 2016. Prosecutors said he sold drugs next to a day care and often in view of children.
Hilts' co-defendant, Elijah Jones, 30, described as Hilts' nephew, pleaded guilty earlier to conspiracy to distribute the drugs. He received 7.5 years in prison.
Hilts has been convicted three times for drug-related offenses, twice receiving lengthy prison terms. One of those terms was later reduced due to drug law reforms.
In a 2004 case, a Schenectady County Court jury, on a retrial, convicted the self-represented Hilts of drug possession, despite the main witness failing to show up.
Prosecutors won the right to have the witness' testimony during the first trial read into evidence at the second trial, and the conviction was upheld.
Hilts received 10 to 20 years in prison in that case, but his term was later reduced. He received a similar term in a 1990 drug case.
More recently, Hilts pleaded guilty to an attempted drug sale count in February 2013 for an offense that happened the previous year. He was sentenced to three years on that conviction. Records indicate he was released in July 2015.