Judge delays sentencing on drug charges
A Harrisville, W.Va. woman’s drug sentencing was abruptly continued Thursday in Washington County Common Pleas Court with no explanation.
Amanda G. Taylor, 27, of 925 High St., was scheduled to be sentenced on a fifth-degree felony count of possession of drugs for an Oct. 3 traffic stop by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which ended in Taylor being transported to a hospital to have drugs removed from a body cavity.
Taylor had been the passenger in a vehicle driven by her then-boyfriend Russell Traugh, 30, said Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.
However, Traugh’s identity did not come to light until months later. At the time of the stop, he told the trooper he did not have his license and gave a false identity, said Schneider.
“The driver was moving around and fidgeting and Taylor was wearing a hoodie and had a sweatshirt covering her lap. The temperature was 80 degrees outside,” he said.
After a K-9 alerted on the vehicle, officers found psilocybin mushrooms, a syringe and a metal smoke pipe. Taylor claimed ownership of them all. She also told officers she had heroin and crack cocaine hidden in a body cavity, said Schneider.
Taylor could not retrieve the drugs on her own and they later had to be removed at a local hospital, he added.
While waiting on lab results on those drugs, Taylor apparently had a falling out with Traugh, said Schneider.
“Early in December, she contacted me and said ‘The drugs all belonged to my boyfriend, Russell Traugh. He was driving the car but gave the wrong identity,'” said Schneider.
Traugh was charged with obstructing official business for the offense, but Taylor was still charged with possession of drugs.
She pleaded July 9 to a fifth-degree felony charge of drug possession for the heroin she had been hiding.
The sentencing began with statements from Schneider and defense attorney Joe Brockwell.
Schneider recommended a 30-day jail sentence and community control sanctions for Taylor.
“It’s actually mandatory community control. She’s got no prior record,” said Schneider.
Brockwell noted that Taylor is already in drug counseling at Westbrook Health Services, Inc., a West Virginia-based addiction counseling service.
“We’d like for that to continue,” said Brockwell.
However, after both attorneys made sentencing recommendations, Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane asked to see both attorneys in his chambers.
When they re-emerged 15 minutes later, Lane continued the sentencing and rescheduled it for 8 a.m. Sept. 4.
No explanation was given for the rescheduling.
Taylor pleaded guilty in Marietta Municipal Court last month to two misdemeanor charges relating to the traffic stop-obstructing official business and possession of drug abuse instruments.
She was sentenced to 15 days in the charges, but that sentence was ordered to run concurrently with any time Taylor receives on the felony drug possession charge, according to Marietta Municipal Court records.