Pot grower gets 12 weekends in jail

A Beverly man will be spending 12 weekends in jail for growing marijuana on his property near the Morgan County line.

Larry D. Rutter, 39, of 437 Elk Run Road, Beverly, pleaded guilty June 24 to a third-degree felony charge of illegal cultivation of marijuana.

The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office was alerted to the growing operation by one of Rutter’s acquaintances who wanted retaliation against Rutter, said Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.

“When the Morgan County sheriff got there, he discovered it’s not in Morgan County, so he contacted our sheriff here,” he said.

Executing a search warrant on the home, officers found 38 marijuana plants-roughly 1,600 grams-growing outside of his home.

Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth chided Rutter for his seeming lack of remorse for the crime.

“You said you didn’t think it was a serious drug,” said Burnworth, reading over Rutter’s pre-sentence investigation report.

Burnworth referenced a Monday decision by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to reject a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana because the bill omitted key information.

“As long as it continues to be illegal in this state, it’s not a good idea to do it,” said Burnworth.

Rutter faced a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

However, he was sentenced according to an agreed disposition. Burnworth ordered him to serve 31 days in the Washington County Jail, gave him credit for one day served, and ordered Rutter to serve one year of community control.

Burnworth then adjourned the hearing and remanded Rutter into custody.

However, Rutter reminded his attorney Joe Brockwell that the agreed sentence had in fact been intermittent weekends.

The sentencing was reconvened to adjust the sentence.

“The agreement was different?” Burnworth asked the attorneys after reconvening the sentencing. “The defendant was to serve an intermittent sentence of 12 weekends instead of 10 weekends?”

Schneider agreed that an intermittent sentence had been agreed upon so long as Rutter was employed.

“I was under the impression the court did it that way because he wasn’t employed,” said Schneider.

But Rutter indicated he was employed.

Burnworth adjusted the sentence to 12 weekends-36 days-because defendants serving weekends do not log a complete 72 hours in jail, he said.

Rutter was ordered to report for his sentence Friday evening.

“Your bond will be continued through the term of your sentence,” added Burnworth.