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Man linked to video of toddlers smoking pot takes plea deal

FORT WORTH -- Just minutes before the start of his trial, a 20-year-old Fort Worth man pleaded guilty to providing marijuana to toddlers that was depicted in a video.

As part of a plea agreement, Vanswan Polty was sentenced to seven years in prison.

As jury selection was to begin in Criminal District Court No. 2, Polty pleaded guilty to five charges -- two of injury to a child and three of burglary of habitation.

He had previously rejected a deal that would have sent him to prison for eight years, State District Judge Wayne Salvant said Tuesday morning after the plea agreement.

“He had talked to his mother,” Salvant said Tuesday. “That may have influenced him.”

Polty had faced a charge of engaging in organized criminal activity in the trial which carried a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Along with injuring the children, Polty had been accused of committing the burglaries in Tarrant County.

But prosecutors offered him the seven years on the five charges Tuesday morning.

In July, Demetris McCoy, 18, the other young man seen in the video giving the marijuana to the 2- and 4-year-old toddlers, reached an agreement with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to two charges of injury to a child/causing bodily injury. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.

As part of the agreement, McCoy was scheduled to testify against Polty. The toddlers are McCoy’s nephews.

McCoy also pleaded guilty to two charges of burglary of a habitation and received eight years on each of those charges. All the sentences will run at the same time.

The investigation

Polty and McCoy were arrested in February 2007 after police found the video while executing a search warrant in the 6000 block of Hickory Hill Road in Watauga, where McCoy’s grandmother lives. Police were investigating burglaries that McCoy and Polty were suspected of committing.

A 16-year-old who authorities say filmed the incident was taken into custody several days after McCoy and Polty were arrested. The teen faced a delinquent conduct charge in the incident, but information was not available on the case.

In the house

The children’s mother, Shatoria Russell, has said that she was asleep in another room in the home, which she shared with her children, McCoy and his grandmother. Russell and McCoy’s grandmother were not charged.

The video

It shows two men coaxing the little boys to smoke marijuana. Tests showed that the children had traces of marijuana and cocaine in their systems.

The children

Child Protective Services removed the children from the home shortly after McCoy’s arrest. Russell did not participate in any of the services required for her to regain custody of her two sons and continued to test positive for drugs, according to a CPS official. Russell relinquished her parental rights in December, a CPS official has said.

The children are with a family that is attempting to adopt them, a CPS official said.