• 48°

Theft, burglary cases end with prison terms

A woman arrested for trying to steal more than $500 in energy drinks and other items from Walmart in Burlington was sentenced to 11 months in prison Wednesday, in spite of her pleas that she had more or less cleaned up her act.

The judge noted her lengthy criminal history as the main reason for the stiffer-than-hoped-for punishment.

Jennifer Payne, 33, of Huntington, W.Va., pleaded guilty last month to one count of theft.

At that time, Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge D. Scott Bowling ordered a pre-sentence investigation. At Payne’s court appearance Wednesday, the judge noted that Payne’s “criminal record is fraught with misdemeanors, drugs, shoplifting, DUS. This is not Ms. Payne’s first rodeo,” Bowling said.

In asking for a prison sentence, Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Jeff Smith said, “Anything else just doesn’t do justice to the conduct we have going here.”

Payne’s attorney, David Reid Dillon, had asked that his client be sent to a rehabilitation program at the STAR Community Justice Center.

Payne herself told Bowling she had turned her life around. She told Bowling if he sends her to prison, authorities in West Virginia, where she is also facing criminal charges, may send her to prison there, too.

If she is sent to STAR instead, it may make a difference as to what happens to her in West Virginia.

“I know my criminal history is terrible. I understand that,” Payne said. “But I have not been in trouble except for this in two years. I had a drug problem.”

Bowling agreed Payne could have a court-supervised visit with her children before being sent to prison.

Payne was one of several people charged with burglary or burglary-related crimes who entered guilty pleas Wednesday in common pleas court.

Christy L. Stone, 29, of 106 Ellis Drive, Proctorville, pleaded guilty to three counts of complicity to commit burglary. Judge Charles Cooper sentenced her to nine years in prison.

“I want to say I’m sorry to the people I’ve done this to,” Stone said. “I regret everything I’ve done and I take responsibility for it.”

Her accomplice, Nicholas McCreery, pleaded guilty to his part in the crimes last month and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

McCreery and Stone were arrested following a series of daytime robberies in the eastern end of the county late last year.

Residents in the area spotted the two in a vehicle that matched the description of the vehicle seen at the scene of some of the crimes and called the sheriff’s office.

The pair were located and some of the items taken during the burglaries were found in Stone’s car.

A couple charged with an October burglary came to court one after the other Wednesday and pleaded guilty to the charges against them.

Sharla Spangler, 28, of 70 Private Drive 2820, South Point, and Derrick Richendollar, 19, of 506 Lorain St., Ironton, each pleaded guilty to one count of burglary.

Bowling sentenced each of them to four years in prison and ordered them to pay $2,500 in restitution.

With good behavior, both may be given judicial release after two years if they are admitted to a program at the STAR Community Justice Center.

“I want to get this done and over with,” Spangler told Bowling. Richendollar said nothing when asked if he had a comment before being sentenced.

In other matters, Steve Mullins, 44, of 2191 State Route 243, Coal Grove, admitted he violated his probation by testing positive for drug use.

Bowling sentenced him to two years in prison. Mullins was in probation for an earlier drug conviction.

William Rigsby, 44, of 623 1/2 Adams St., Ironton, stipulated to the facts alleged in a probation violation report Wednesday.

Authorities said while on probation, Rigsby tested positive for drugs.

In stipulating to the facts presented, Rigsby admits there is evidence against him without actually admitting his guilt.

Bowling sentenced him to time already served in jail and ordered him to attend the Reformer’s Unanimous program at Franklin Furnace Independent Baptist Church. Rigsby was on probation for an earlier sex offense.

Stanley C. Webb, 41, of Groveport, admitted he violated his probation. Cooper sentenced him to seven months in prison.