Cortland man pleads not guilty to meth manufacturing

A city man pleaded not guilty this afternoon to charges accusing him of making methamphetamine with a lab that exploded Saturday in his occupied Madison Street apartment.

Jason J. Hudson, 26, of 143 Madison St. Apt. 9, was charged this morning with felony first-degree reckless endangerment, felony third-degree unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine and fourth-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, said city police Lt. David Guerrera. City Judge Elizabeth Burns remanded Hudson to jail without bail, noting she could not set bail as Hudson has three previous felony convictions.

“I just don’t have any choice but to remand,” Burns explained, as under the law only a county judge can set bail on a convicted felon.

Hudson, an underweight, tall, white man with a moustache and dark hair styled into a fauxhawk, told Burns he does not work and she ordered an attorney be assigned to him.

Weight loss is a long-term side effect of methamphetamine abuse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an arm of the National Institute of Health.

Hudson reserved his right to decide whether he would like a preliminary hearing into whether there is reasonable evidence to conclude he committed a felony. That hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning. 

Dressed in skinny jeans that were falling from his waist and a button-down madras shirt that revealed how fleshless his shoulder blades are, Hudson told Burns he was no longer welcome at the Madison Street apartment building and would stay with his sister if released.  

The felony charges stem from a meth-lab explosion that blew a bathroom door off its hinges in Hudson’s apartment, according to police.

A 63-year-old was asleep in the apartment when the meth lab exploded and others were at home in the building’s other apartment, police said. No one was injured in the explosion, according to the department, and the 63-year-old is not suspected.

Hudson was arrested about 3 p.m. Monday at 6 Park Street and was questioned Monday afternoon, as well as this morning, by detectives before he was charged, Guerrera said. The city police department may arrest and hold an uncharged person for up to 72 hours before they must either be charged and arraigned or released, he noted. According to state penal law, a person must be charged and brought before a local court “without unnecessary delay,” but no actual time frame is specified in the statute.

Witnesses put Hudson in the apartment at the time of the explosion, but he fled the scene, Guerrera said.

Hudson may have made a veiled reference to potential meth-making activities less than two weeks ago on one of three Facebook pages attributed to him, according to a public posting.

Two of the three Facebook pages attributed to a city resident named Jason Hudson depict selfies of Hudson. The cover photo of one of the pages was updated at 4:55 p.m. June 12 and shows Hudson with headphones in and making a heavy metal, devil-horn gesture with his hand. The photo is captioned “"Breathin' In The Ch3mic@ls. I Sw3at My Ru$T...Steppin' Off Th3 Prison Bus!" The caption is an apparent misquote of the Imagine Dragons song “Radioactive."

One of the pages states Hudson attended Cortland Junior Senior High School and is self-employed, while another states he previously worked at Wendy’s.