Drug offenders plead guilty

Published 10:03 am Friday, March 13, 2009

Two of three men arrested for heroin peddling and other drug offenses pleaded guilty Wednesday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

Keith V. Vaughn, 41, of Portsmouth, was sentenced to four years community controlled sanctions under intensive supervised probation (CCS/ISP).

He must also successfully complete a rehabilitation program at the STAR Community Justice Center and must testify against an alleged cohort, Mark Eubank, if Eubank stands trial.

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“He has given a statement to police that implicates Eubank,” Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson said.

Judge Charles Cooper noted that Vaughn had a “lengthy prior conviction record including burglary and theft as far back as 1989.”

Another alleged cohort, Jeremy M. Grizzle, 26, of 601 Hecla St., Ironton, also pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated trafficking in drugs and one count of trafficking in heroin. Cooper sentenced him to four years in prison but said if he stays out of trouble he could be eligible for judicial release after one year and if he testifies against Eubank.

Cooper said he recently rejected a request for judicial release from an inmate who violated prison rules and his infractions were noted in a report sent to Cooper by prison officials.

“Your conduct while you are up there is up to you,” Cooper said. “…There is no reason why you can’t come out a stronger person than when you went in.”

In another case, Monte R. Hawthorne, 44 of 66 County Road 450, South Point, was sentenced to a total of six years in prison for theft and burglary convictions. He must also pay $283 restitution.

“The defendant has a prior penitentiary record and his burglary victims were home at the time,” Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Mack Anderson told Judge D. Scott Bowling.

“He entered the home with them asleep and they awakened with him in their bedroom.”

Defense attorney Luke Styer said Hawthorne has a drug problem for which he would like to seek treatment.

This sentiment was echoed by Hawthorne himself when Bowling asked if he had anything to say before he was sentenced.

“I’m sorry for the grief I put people through,” he said.