A West Virginia man who was found with psychedelic drugs during a traffic stop in Belpre asked for a prison sentence Monday in Washington County Common Pleas Court rather than be forced to stay close to Washington County for five years of supervision.
Krystopher M. Neff, 26, of 816 21st St., Vienna, W.Va., pleaded guilty to a fifth-degree felony count of possession of drugs for a Sept. 29 traffic stop in Belpre where officers found methylone in his possession.
As part of the plea agreement, the prosecution agreed to recommend a community control sanction for Neff, said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings. However, Neff recently indicated he would rather serve a prison term on the charge, he said.
"Attorney (Randall) Jedlink now says the defendant does not wish to be placed on community control," said Rings.
A prior felony burglary conviction in West Virginia meant Neff was eligible for prison, he added.
"I think there's nothing left for the court to do but impose a prison sentence between six to 12 months," he said.
Jedlink, Neff's attorney, explained that Neff was requesting a prison sentence because he was eager to start anew with his sister and brother-in-law in Virginia.
"They've already got him set up for a local barber school over there, so his plans are to put this behind him, move on with a fresh start to Virginia as soon as he gets out of prison, and basically become a barber," said Jedlink.
Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane seemed skeptical of Neff's unwillingness to spend time on community control.
"So he doesn't want to be under supervision for five years?" asked Lane.
Neff's desire to avoid a lengthy community control period had nothing to do with him wanting to avoid supervision and drug treatment, said Jedlink. On the contrary, Neff had already voluntarily admitted himself into and completed rehab, he said.
"I would be under supervision for five years if I could move it to Virginia," added Neff.
However, there would be significant red tape involved in transferring Neff's supervision to Virginia, including a five-month stay at the SEPTA Correctional Facility and the approval of Neff's local supervising officer, said Lane.
"No thanks. I appreciate it," said Neff.
Given for the chance to make a statement, he apologized to his family and his children.
Jedlink asked for a prison sentence "on the lighter end." Neff could receive anywhere from six to 12 months on the charge.
The prior felony charge that made Neff prison eligible was a burglary conviction in Wood County in 2006. He also has prior charges of breaking into an automobile, obstruction of an officer and fleeing and the eluding, said Lane.
Lane sentenced Neff to eight months in prison on the charge. He had no jail time credit because he was never jailed on the charge, added Lane.