LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - A former high school chemistry teacher convicted of cooking methamphetamines in New Mexico, just like the fictional Walter White character in the AMC-TV show "Breaking Bad," has been sentenced to four years in prison and five years probation.
"Somehow, during the course of the discussions, it was represented that this is the local Walter White," said District Judge Fernando Macias. "This is the Breaking Bad equivalent here in Las Cruces."
Fifty-six-year-old John W. Gose was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to trafficking by manufacturing a controlled substance.
"Everyone's kind of familiar with the TV show, and obviously, we saw those parallels right away," said Tomás Medina, prosecutor for the Doña Ana County District Attorney's Office. "I think that's why people are so interested in this story."
"I have a lot of remorse and regret over it. You know, I'm prepared to accept the consequences for what I did, your honor," Gose said.
The 56-year-old Gose was arrested in October after police discovered glassware, rubber tubing, and chemicals used to cook methamphetamines during a routine traffic stop.
New Mexico State Police later found more chemicals and supplies at his southern New Mexico home, in addition to almost $50,000 in meth that was in the process of crystallizing.
"Perhaps if you or I were bored, we might learn how to play the Ukelele or something, but the defendant decided he was going to make meth," Medina said. "And he was going to make a lot of meth."
In Breaking Bad, Walter White begins cooking meth to pay for his medical bills after he's diagnosed with cancer. Medina argued that unlike Walter White, Gose manufactured the meth purely out of curiosity and boredom.
"This wasn't a defendant that was in dire straits and made a decision based out of desperation, this was a conscious choice," said Medina.
Gose taught science, chemistry and a vocational course at three public schools: Irvin High School in El Paso, as well as Oñate High School and Camino Real Middle School in Las Cruces.
"He was a football coach, he's coached basketball," said Gose's attorney, Peter Giovannini, to Judge Macias.. "Those are - those are things that a teacher does after class that take up a lot of time. Judge, he has been a contributing member of society and has helped so many people."
He was facing up to 20 1/2 years in prison.