Local court very busy with pleas
A woman accused of stealing from her grandfather was one of several defendants who pleaded guilty to felony charges Tuesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court.
Theft from grandfather
– Jessica Stevens, 32, of 112 Tennis Center Drive, Apt. 14, of Marietta, pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree felony count of theft from an elderly person.
The victim, Steven’s grandfather, had just returned home from vacation and was in the process of unpacking when Stevens visited him on Aug. 24, said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings.
“He had left his wallet out somewhere. It wasn’t on his person. He discovered the theft later that evening,” he said.
In addition to the $700 taken, the victim reported that some of this medication had been stolen, said Rings. Stevens was originally indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of theft of drugs as well. That charge was dismissed as a result of her plea Tuesday.
Heroin trafficking ring
– Thomas J. Gaughan, 27, of 2453 County Road 9, Marietta, pleaded guilty to a fifth-degree felony charge of trafficking in drugs and a fourth-degree felony of trafficking in drugs.
Gaughan was driving Stacy Thompson during a Jan. 28 drug sale, said Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.
Thompson, who was found guilty of trafficking out of the same incident during an August jury trial, was sentenced in September to three and a half years in prison on that and three other trafficking charges.
“On Feb. 5, 2013, the same confidential informant met with (Gaughan) and he offered to sell 15 unit doses of heroin,” said Schneider.
Gaughan sold the informant $480 worth of what he claimed was heroin. However, the substance did not test positive for heroin or any other controlled substance when sent to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for verification.
Regardless, the offer to sell drugs is enough to warrant a drug trafficking charge, said Schneider.
In exchange for the guilty pleas, two charges against Gaughan were dropped – an additional fourth-degree felony drug trafficking charge and a second-degree felony count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
If Gaughan is sentenced to community control or eventually granted judicial release, Schneider asked that he and any co-defendants be ordered to pay restitution for all three drug buys, which totaled $920.
– Abby L. Roach, 19, of 804 Fourth St., also pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree and a fifth-degree felony count of drug trafficking and a fifth-degree felony count of possession of drugs.
On Feb. 11, Roach sold heroin to a confidential informant within 1,000 feet of Phillips Elementary School, resulting in the fourth-degree felony charge. She also sold heroin to an informant on Feb. 15, resulting in the fifth-degree felony drug trafficking charge.
The drug possession plea was the result of a Jan. 26 traffic stop during which Roach was found in possession of heroin.
In exchange for the pleas, the prosecution dropped four other charges against Roach.
A fifth-degree felony count of complicity to drug trafficking and a fifth-degree felony count of drug possession were dropped with prejudice, meaning the prosecution can not revisit the charges later.
However, a separate fifth-degree complicity to drug trafficking and a second-degree felony charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity were dismissed without prejudice and will be refiled if Roach commits certain violations while on community control or within four years of the plea, whichever is longer, said Schneider.
“It will be re-filed if she commits any felony crime or any drug crime a first-degree misdemeanor or higher or if she fails to cooperate and testify in any drug cases in which she is an informant,” said Schneider.
Traffic crash assault
– Nick L. Losey Jr., 20, of 240 Hillcrest Drive, Marietta pleaded guilty Tuesday to a third-degree felony count of intimidation of a witness.
Losey was near the scene of an April 20 vehicle crash on Pennsylvania Avenue in Marietta and got into a physical altercation with a 16-year-old juvenile who was photographing the accident, said Rings.
“Apparently Mr. Losey took offense to his taking pictures so a fight ensued…the child did suffer injuries,” said Rings.
Rings said Losey was involved in the accident, but his attorney Ray Smith, denied this.
“He wasn’t in the accident. He was at the scene,” said Smith.
In exchange for the guilty plea, two second-degree felony counts of assault that resulted from the same incident were dismissed.
– Amy M. Leedy, 24, of 45669 Miller Road, Pomeroy, pleaded guilty to a third-degree felony count of burglary.
An investigation into a May 15 burglary at a Cutler residence led officers from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to Leedy.
An Xbox game console and 14 games were stolen, said Rings.
“Through investigation, it was learned Ms. Leedy sold the console and at least some of the games,” said Rings.
Leedy is currently serving a two-year prison sentence for a fifth-degree felony theft charge and a fifth-degree felony breaking and entering charge out of Meigs County.
Following her plea, Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth immediately sentenced Leedy to 12 months in prison on the charge, which Leedy will serve concurrently with the Meigs County charges.
Two men pleaded guilty to reduced charges for unrelated marijuana growing operations.
– Rodney E. Blow, 67, of 2783 Sealy Ridge Road, Vincent, pleaded guilty to a fifth-degree felony count of cultivation of marijuana. Seven marijuana plants were discovered growing on his property after a July 24 helicopter fly-over. The plants weighed more than 1,000 grams, resulting in an indictment on a third-degree felony cultivation charge, said Schneider. However, as Blow has no criminal history he was allowed to plead to a reduced charge.
– Steven M. Snyder, 64, of 2075 Dalzell Road, Whipple, also pleaded guilty to a fifth-degree felony count of cultivation of marijuana. A helicopter fly-over on Sept. 5 resulted in the discovery of 29 marijuana plants growing in Snyder’s garden. Snyder was also indicted on a third-degree felony charge of cultivation of marijuana and was allowed to plead to a reduced charge because of his lack of a criminal history, said Schneider.