Thefts, drug cases fill court

Published 10:10 am Monday, April 20, 2009

Burglary and drug charges were prominent crimes on Wednesday’s Lawrence County Common Pleas Court docket.

Stephen Branch, 18, of 630 County Road 60, South Point, pleaded guilty to one count of attempt to commit burglary. Judge D. Scott Bowling sentenced him to three years in prison but if Branch stays out of trouble while he is incarcerated, he could be eligible for judicial release in three months.

“He has no prior criminal record and he has been cooperative with authorities,” Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Mack Anderson explained.

Email newsletter signup

“Mr. Branch is a young man, not even 19, yet, I don’t believe. He is in a situation where he has no support from his family whatsoever,” Branch’s attorney, Philip Heald said.

“He doesn’t excuse anything he did. He scared the living daylights out of those people and he has learned a lesson about this. But he is anxious to get this behind him and prove himself. He has a history of working. I think he has the makings of a good citizen.”

Thomas E. Johnson, 36, of 503 Third St. E, South Point, pleaded guilty to charges of receiving stolen property and burglary. Judge Charles Cooper sentenced him to four years in prison.

“I’m sorry I did what I did and if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t do it,” Johnson told Cooper.

Christopher L. Adkins, 20, of Ashland, Ky., pleaded guilty to one count of burglary.

Bowling sentenced Adkins to four years in prison but left open the possibility of judicial release after three years if Adkins is accepted at the New Life Restoration Program in Branson, Mo.

“This is run by a former STAR employee and he has relatives there,” Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Mack Anderson explained.

“My client was under the influence of drugs and were it not for drugs he wouldn’t have committed the offense,” Adkins’ attorney, Warren Morford, said. “Since then he has given his life to Christ. He did turn himself in and cooperate with authorities in the recovery of the guns. He does want to get this behind him.”

Adkins and another person are accused of breaking into a house and stealing several guns. Anderson said eight of the nine guns that were stolen during the burglary were returned to the owner.

Adkins must pay $1,187 in restitution for a door and window that were damaged during the incident and for the insurance deductible for the gun that was not returned.

Bowling did allow Adkins a one-week furlough but warned him to turn himself in as scheduled or face an escape charge.

In other matters, Joshua Clagg, 31, of 130 Township Road 1106, Proctorville, was arraigned on three counts of aggravated trafficking in drugs. He pleaded not guilty through his attorney, Mike Davenport.

Bowling set an own recognizance (OR) bond of $20,000 and ordered electronically monitored home confinement. Clagg must return to court May 6 for a pretrial conference.

Gina Anderson, 21, of Huntington, W.Va., was arraigned on two counts of burglary. She pleaded not guilty through her attorney, Mike Eachus. Cooper established a $25,000 cash bond plus a $25,000 OR bond and ordered her to return to court April 29 for a pretrial conference.