Drug offenders, others enter guilty pleas

Published 11:03 pm Saturday, November 14, 2009

Flunking a drug test Tuesday squashed a Kitts Hill man’s plan to stay out of jail until he was admitted to a rehabilitation program.

Joseph Christian, 22, of 4383 State Route 141, Kitts Hill, pleaded guilty in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court to having a weapon under a disability and aggravated possession of drugs.

Judge D. Scott Bowling sentenced him to four years community controlled sanctions under intensive supervised probation (CCS/ISP) and ordered him to successfully complete a rehabilitation program at the STAR Community Justice Center.

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Christian was also ordered to pay a $1,250 fine and surrender his driver’s license for six months.

Through his attorney, Mike Gleichauf, Christian asked Bowling if he could remain free on bond until this week when he will be admitted to STAR.

“I’m staying with my parents, I’m not into drugs,” Christian told Bowling. The judge agreed Christian could stay free on bond until Nov. 17 — if he could pass a drug test.

“You think you can pass it?” Bowling asked.

“I might show positive for pot. But I haven’t smoked any in weeks,” Christian replied.

The test was in fact positive for marijuana; Christian was taken to jail immediately.

Also Tuesday, Paul J. Waginger, 22, of 2329 Hamilton St., Ironton, admitted he violated his probation by, among other things, not reporting to his probation officer and tampering with a drug test.

Judge Charles Cooper sentenced him to seven months in prison. Waginger was on probation for an earlier drug conviction. Cooper rejected a request for a brief furlough.

“He is employed,” Waginger’s attorney, Mike Gleichauf, explained. “He thinks if he talks to his employer, after a brief period of incarceration, he might be allowed to get his job back.”

Cooper said Waginger could have personal visits with family before he is sent to prison.

Scott B. Bridges, 21, of 1372 County Road 26, Ironton, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft. Cooper sentenced him to 14 days in jail plus four years CCS/ISP.

Bridges was ordered to pay $2,692 in restitution, $1,800 of which he must pay immediately.

“The reason for the light sentence is because the defendant is a young man, he has no prior record either in municipal or in this court and he has been able to come forward and pay the victims up to 75 percent of it (restitution) up front,” Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Bob Anderson explained. “He had a clean drug screen, which (drug abuse) is behind most of our cases and he is employed.”

Bridges’ attorney, Derick Fisher, agreed.

“He is a young man who has poorly chosen the friends he hung out with. He is employed, does have a job and he will pay the restitution. He has learned the error of his ways, your honor,” Fisher said.

Christopher Kelley, 24, of 48 Township Road 1051, Coal Grove, pleaded guilty to three counts of theft, one count of grand theft and one count of theft and admitted he violated his probation.

Cooper sentenced him to 30 months in prison and ordered him to pay more than $13,000 in restitution to two victims. Kelley may be eligible for judicial release after 17 months.