(Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press file)

Strange twist in court case for suspected pot dealer who’s 80

Judge rejects plea agreement for Marshall Dion, questioning both sides about proposed sentence that's much lower than the federal guideline

BOSTON — A federal judge has rejected a plea agreement that called for a five- to seven-year prison sentence for an 80-year-old man who is accused of running a multistate marijuana-dealing operation.

Marshall Dion was scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court.

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Marshall Dion, shown in a 2013 booking photo. (Junction City (Kan.) Police Department via AP)

The hearing was canceled after Judge Denise Casper rejected the plea agreement and the joint sentencing recommendation by Dion’s lawyers and prosecutors.

Casper had postponed the hearing last month after she questioned both sides about why the proposed sentence was so much lower than the 30-year sentence called for under federal sentencing guidelines.

Casper gave Dion’s lawyers until March 18 to inform the court whether he will withdraw his guilty plea and go to trial, or agree to be sentenced without a plea agreement. She scheduled a status conference for March 22.