S.C. woman sentenced for drug possession

A pending felony charge in her home state kept a South Carolina woman from receiving the community control sentence recommended by both the prosecuting and defense attorneys in her local drug possession case Thursday.

Instead, Heather Ellason, 21, of 1111 Gordon Street Extension, Greenville, S.C., was sentenced to prison Thursday in Washington County Common Pleas Court for her Christmas Eve drug possession charge.

When stopped for speeding near Macksburg on Dec. 24, Ellason and her boyfriend, 26-year-old Christopher Burton, of the same address, were found to be in possession of multiple drugs and drug paraphernalia items.

In the car were 105 Oxycodone pills, five grams of methamphetamine, three grams of marijuana and items that would indicate trafficking, such as mini Zip-loc bags to put the pills in, said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Jared Erb.

Ellason pleaded guilty in April to possession of the methamphetamine, a fifth-degree felony.

In asking for a community control sanction, Ellason’s attorney, Randall Jedlink, said Ellason was not involved in Burton’s trafficking.

“While she was aware of what Burton was doing, she was not the one actually involved in the sale of drugs,” he said.

In addition, Ellason has received praise from her GED instructor for doing well in her jail GED classes and has consistently maintained a well-paying job in South Carolina, said Jedlink.

Ellason added that she was ready to accept responsibility for her actions.

“Since I’ve been incarcerated, I’ve had a lot of time to think about what I’ve done to get myself in this situation. I’m ready to move forward and be a better person,” she told the court.

Citing the plea agreement, Erb asked that Ellason be sentenced to three years of community control and 150 days in the county jail.

However, reading through her pre-sentence investigation report, Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane said community control was not possible.

Ellason has a 2009 felony child neglect charge and a pending felony child neglect charge in South Carolina, he noted.

“I don’t see how I can order community control with a pending felony,” said Lane.

Jedlink said the pending felony child neglect charge was a result of Ellason’s drug arrest in Ohio and not a separate occurrence.

Lane questioned South Carolina’s jurisdiction to charge Ellason for a crime that happened out of state but said the issue was a moot point because someone with a pending felony is simply not eligible for community control.

Lane sentenced Ellason to 10 months in prison with credit for 100 days served. She faced 12 months in prison on the charge.

Burton pleaded guilty May 17 to a fourth-degree felony county of drug trafficking. He will be sentenced June 27 and faces an 18-month prison sentence on the charge.