Woman backs out of plea bargain

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A South Point woman had second thoughts about a plea agreement on drug charges when she learned last week she would have to plead guilty to all the charges against her, not just a few of them.

Amber Sloan, 30, of 237 Private Drive 72, Township Road 510 N. is facing multiple drug charges from two separate indictments. She is scheduled to stand trial Sept. 13.

But when she appeared in Lawrence County Common Pleas before Judge Richard Walton, an earlier-arranged plea agreement between Sloan and her attorney, Warren Morford, and the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office, fell through when she told the court she would plead guilty to two charges stemming from a January arrest, but not to five others stemming from another arrest in March.

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“We will go to trial,” Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Bob Anderson said. “The prosecutor’s office won’t let her plead to just two charges, it had to be all of them. It (the possible prison sentence) adds up to 40-50 years maximum.”

In other matters, Paul D. Sergent, 29, of County Road 53, Kitts Hill, was arraigned on one count of aggravated possession of drugs. He pleaded not guilty through Morford, who is also his attorney. Walton set bond at $15,000 and scheduled a pretrial conference for this week.

Also Wednesday, Jeff McConnell, 24, of 143 Township Road 1012, South Point, admitted he violated his probation.

Before the probation hearing Thursday, McConnell told Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Jeff Smith and Adult Probation Officer Carl Bowen he was sorry for violating his probation.

McConnell, who was sentenced to probation in 2005 for vandalism, falsification, theft, resisting arrest and assault on a peace officer convictions, failed to report to authorities as is required under the terms of his probation. He also tested positive for drug use.

Walton sentenced McConnell to 11 months in prison and refused to allow him a brief furlough before reporting to authorities.

In another case, John Harper, 22, of Greenup, Ky., pleaded guilty on a bill of information to a single count of burglary. He was sentenced to four years in prison.

However, if he does not get into trouble while he is in prison, he may be eligible for judicial release after a year if he is accepted into a rehabilitation program in a community based correctional facility (CBCF).

“He was unemployed at the time of the incident and broke into his aunt’s house looking for something to sell to feed himself and his wife,” Morford explained to the court. Harper’s wife, Beth, also faces charges stemming from the incident.