A Layton man who admitted trying to extort money from a man accused of dealing drugs in return for not testifying against him was sentenced to six months in jail this week by a 2nd District judge.

Robert M. Townsend, 19, pleaded guilty to one charge of extortion, a second-degree felony, and a charge of distributing cocaine, a third-degree felony. Two other drug charges, a witness tampering charge, and a pending juvenile court action against Townsend's wife were dismissed in return for the guilty pleas.Judge Douglas L Cornaby sentenced Townsend to one to 15 years in prison on the extortion plea and zero to five years on the drug charge, then stayed the two prison terms. He ordered Townsend to spend six months in the county jail with a work release and three years on probation.

The jail sentence starts Feb. 5, after Townsend's wife is scheduled to have a baby.

Townsend was scheduled to testify against the Ogden man who nearly killed Townsend's 16-year-old wife with an overdose of cocaine last summer, according to court records.

But he approached the man and offered that he and his wife would leave the state instead in return for a cash payment, the court records state. The man - who has himself apparently fled the state - tape recorded the telephone calls and turned them over to detectives.