BENTON -- The Sikeston couple that faces a combined 60 counts of supplying alcohol to minors at a May graduation party pleaded not guilty.
Mark Cheatham, 48, and his wife, Terry Brewer-Cheatham, 47, entered the plea during their arraignment Thursday before Judge Terry L. Brown.
Brown granted Scott County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Boyd's motion to join the two cases, so the couple will be tried as co-defendants. There will also be a change of venue, with the case being tried in Mississippi County, as per the request of the Cheatham's attorney, Stephen C. Wilson.
Each is charged with 30 counts of supplying alcohol to minors. Maximum punishment is up to six months in jail and a $500 fine for each count.
The charges stem from a May 20 graduation party at the Cheatham's house, 123 Greenbrier. Sikeston Department of Public Safety officials were called to the scene on the complaint of loud music and underage drinking.
City charges were first filed against the couple, which were upgraded to state charged after further investigation by Boyd's office.
The Cheathams said they had not purchased any alcohol, but defended their actions on the night of the party.
"Ms. Cheatham explained she felt like the kids were going to drink anyway and if they drank at her residence they would not be out driving around or sleeping in a field," the affidavit stated.
A preliminary hearing is set for 9 a.m. Sept. 19.