Fly-overs result in drug sentencings

Two area men caught growing marijuana on their respective properties were given identical sentences during their separate sentencing hearings Tuesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court.

Rodney E. Blow, 67, of 2783 Sealy Ridge Road Vincent, and Steven M. Snyder, 65, of 2075 Dalzell Road, Whipple, were each sentenced to serve 32 days in jail with credit for one day served.

In unrelated incidents, helicopter fly-overs discovered marijuana being grown by Blow and Snyder.

Both Snyder and Blow requested and were granted intermittent sentences.

“We would request to begin an intermittent sentence…Monday Dec. 16,” said Snyder’s attorney Dennis Sipe.

Blow’s attorney, Williams Adams, said Blow had the opportunity to spend Christmas in Massachusetts and would be grateful for the chance to start his sentence Dec. 30.

“I explained to him this would be asking for a lot of the court,” added Adams.

Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider said he would not oppose intermittent sentences for either men or the later entry date for Blow as long as both men were first booked into the Washington County Jail immediately following sentencing.

“That way if he wouldn’t show up there’s an escape charge,” Schneider said during Snyder’s sentencing, which preceded Blow’s by 15 minutes.

Both men will serve the sentence in 12 rounds of three-day stints. Sipe said Snyder preferred starting Monday as opposed to doing a typical Friday through Sunday intermittent sentence, which requires inmates to pay a $75 fee each weekend.

After a Sept. 9 helicopter fly-over, 29 plants were found growing in Snyder’s garden in Whipple.

On July 24, seven marijuana plants weighing more than 1,000 grams were found at Blow’s Vincent home.

Both men pleaded Oct. 15 to illegal cultivation of marijuana, a fifth-degree felony, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison.

However, both men had negligible criminal histories, noted Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth.

“You have a possession of marijuana charge in Jackson, Mississippi….40 years ago,” Burnworth said to Snyder.

For Blow, Burnworth listed two drunk driving charges, both more than 20 years old.

Blow said he regretted growing the plants.

“I realize I did wrong and I should not have tried growing the stuff and shouldn’t have been using it anyway,” he said.

Burnworth told both men that he did not expect to see them in court ever again to which Snyder nodded in agreement and Blow agreed, saying, “It was a disastrous event and I won’t be trying it again.”