Woman sentenced for tampering with pain killer

A Marietta woman was sentenced to two years in prison Wednesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court for manipulating and abusing her prescription drug patches.

Stacy Y. Lee, 42, of 1023 Third St., pleaded guilty in April to a third-degree felony charge of tampering with drugs for draining the medication from her pain-killing Fentanyl patches and injecting the drug with a syringe.

The sentencing had been delayed because of Lee’s medical problems which were still an issue, said Lee’s attorney Jack Blakeslee.

“I have a letter here from the department of obstetrics and gynecology…Lee still has two-week assessments for one month,” he said.

Blakeslee pointed out the pain patches Lee had been abusing had actually been prescribed to her and suggested that made her case less serious than the “35 or 40 (third-degree) felonies in this court” where people were abusing drugs not prescribed to them.

“I’d ask the court to find she’s amenable to community control sanctions,” said Blakeslee.

Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings recommended that Lee be sentenced to two years in prison, but added the state would not oppose judicial release after one year.

Lee also asked for a more lenient sentence and even suggested her charge should be amended.

“What I was doing I was doing to myself. Can we plead down to drug abuse, keep the prison population down?” asked Lee.

The prosecution does not believe Lee was using all of the Fentanyl medication herself, Rings said after sentencing.

The Major Crimes Task Force initially executed a search warrant at the home that Lee shares with 40-year-old Russell S. Burkhammer Jr. after someone caught with unprescribed Fentanyl patches pinpointed Lee as the source.

“On Aug. 3, 2012 we went in. She had obtained the prescription the day before. It was for 15 patches and there were three left. I don’t think you can shoot up 12 Fentanyl patches in a day and still be breathing,” said Rings.

Burkhammer was also charged with a third-degree felony count of tampering with drugs after investigators found pills that had been crushed, apparently to be inhaled. Burkhammer is set to go to trial on the charge Sept. 19.

Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane noted that Lee had received community control sanctions for previous felony convictions.

“Ms. Lee is not a stranger to the judicial system…She’s not followed the rules of supervision before,” said Lane.

Lee was on supervision at the time of the crime. She has two previous felony convictions for drug trafficking in 2009.

Lane sentenced Lee to 24 months in prison with credit for six days served.