Dealer paid for his habit selling heroin

A Marietta man apologized for dealing drugs to support his habit Tuesday before being sentenced in Washington County Common Pleas Court to two years and four months in prison.

Robert J. Becker, 69, of 213 Meigs St., was sentenced on four felony charges-two fifth-degree felony counts of drug trafficking, one fifth-degree felony count of drug possession and one fourth-degree felony count of drug trafficking.

Over a year-long period beginning in October 2012, investigators observed Becker supply heroin to three different drug dealers they were investigating.

The investigators observed dealers take the buy money from an undercover informant, leave to meet Becker in public or travel to his home and then return to the informant with heroin.

Becker told Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane that he regrets supplying the drugs.

“I’m so, so sorry. I wish I could take it back…The only reason I was selling it was to support my habit,” he said.

Becker’s attorney Jack Blakeslee echoed the idea that Becker’s addiction drove his actions.

“Heroin addicts, when they’re awake have only one goal,” he said.

Blakeslee also cited Becker’s actions since his March 5 plea as further evidence that he was fit for a community control sentence.

“On March 19 Robert admitted himself into The Woods for detoxification,” he said.

Becker has been sober since then and has enrolled himself in drug counseling at L&P Services, he added.

Blakeslee also noted Becker’s age.

“Sixty-nine years of age, I would urge the court to find he’s an amenable candidate for community control sanctions,” he said.

As per the plea agreement, Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider remained silent on the issue of sentencing and said he would only request restitution for the drug buy money should Becker receive a community control sentence.

Lane noted Becker’s remorsefulness, but cited his long criminal history as an indication that community control was no longer a viable option.

The record stretches back to 1971 when Becker spent a year in prison on a breaking and entering charge.

Becker has been to prison two other times, said Schneider.

“You’ve been given many opportunities in the past,” added Lane.

Lane sentenced Becker to a month shy of the maximum on each of the four charges-11 months on each of the fifth-degree felonies and 17 months on the fourth-degree felony.

Lane grouped the charges so that two fifth-degree felonies ran concurrently with the fourth-degree felony but consecutively to the final fifth-degree felony, meaning Becker will serve 28 months in prison.

Lane added that he was not aware of any jail credit, but Schneider calculated Becker has served four days.