Pedro resident pleads on burglary charges, must testify against co-defendant

Published 9:57 am Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Pedro woman who helped burgle a State Route 93 residence was given a second chance to turn her life around — but not before getting a stiff lecture from a judge and promising authorities she would testify against her alleged cohort.

Tara Adkins, 27, of 115 Private Drive 2913, pleaded guilty Wednesday on a bill of information to one count of attempt to commit burglary. Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge D. Scott Bowling sentenced Adkins to four years community controlled sanctions with intensive supervised probation (CCS/ISP) and ordered her to complete a rehabilitation program at the STAR Community Justice Center.

Adkins must also testify truthfully against her codefendant, Clinton Cremeans. If she does not testify consistently with the statement she gave authorities, Adkins will be sent to prison for six years.

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“These are very serious charges,” Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Bob Anderson said. “The reason for our recommendation is that her codefendant, Mr. Cremeans, has a much worse prior record than Ms. Adkins does and she has agreed to testify against him if need be.”

Her attorney, Mike Gleichauf, said Adkins would indeed cooperate with authorities as she has done in the past. He characterized Adkins as a “young mother with a drug problem.”

Bowling told Adkins that she should indeed cooperate with the prosecution against Cremeans, complete her program at STAR and stay out of trouble.

“It’s quite a bargain based on what you’re charged with,” Bowling told her. “You will fulfill your obligations or I promise you I would have no problem sending you to prison for six years.”

Gleichauf asked that Adkins be released on furlough until she goes to STAR Oct.2. Anderson objected to the request.

“The company she keeps, I am concerned that given the STAR requirements and the requirements in this other case this could be compromised,” Anderson said. He pointed out few people charged with similar crimes get such a deal.

“I want to be able to be with my daughter in school,” Adkins said. “I need to get my kids situated before I go do time.”

Bowling denied the request.

Adkins and Cremeans, 29, 115 County Road 28, Pedro, allegedly went to a Pedro residence July 22 and asked to use the bathroom, in spite of the fact the residence is near a gasoline station that has restrooms. While in the bathroom, Adkins was caught pilfering the homeowner’s jewelry box. When they were apprehended at the residence, deputies found a knife in Cremeans’ possession.

In another case Wednesday, charges were dropped against Mark Stuntebeck, of 13 Private Drive 254, Ironton. He had been charged with burglary and two misdemeanors, domestic violence and criminal damaging. He was indicted on those charges in July.

In yet another case, Sparkle L. Benicker, 26, of Ironton, pleaded guilty to one count of grand theft. Judge Charles Cooper sentenced her to four years CCS/ISP and orderex her to successfully complete a rehabilitation program at the STAR Community Justice Center. Benicker was accused of stealing a revolver from her mother.

“I know what I done was wrong,” Benicker told Cooper. “I wish my mother was here so I could tell her I’m sorry.”

Criminal court proceedings are usually heard on Wednesday mornings but because of a sizeable docket, burglaries, drug peddling and other felony activity spilled over into the afternoon. Forty-eight cases were heard Wednesday by Bowling and Cooper.