Drug offenses handled in Common Pleas court

Published 10:38 am Thursday, June 2, 2011

Drug charges were chief among the crimes bringing people before Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge D. Scott Bowling Wednesday.

Earl L. Lawhorn, 51, of 21 County Road 1A, Ironton, pleaded guilty on a bill of information to two counts of possession of drugs.

“My client had a car wreck approximately six years ago and this began a dependency on pain pills and this was his path here this morning,” his attorney, Warren Morford explained.

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Bowling ordered Lawhorn to successfully complete a rehabilitation program at the STAR Community Justice Center followed by four years community control sanctions under intensive supervised probation (CCS/ISP). By pleading guilty on a bill of information, Lawhorn avoids having his case heard by a grand jury and common pleas jury, admits guilty and proceeds to sentencing.

Larry Travis Pennington, 22, of 2421 S. Fifth St., Ironton, pleaded guilty on a bill of information to felony counts of tampering with evidence and aggravated possession of drugs and three misdemeanor counts of theft.

“I take full responsibility for my actions,” Pennington told Bowling. “I know I was in the wrong and I’m sorry for the pain I caused others.”

Bowling ordered him to successfully complete a rehabilitation program at the STAR Community Justice Center and then sentenced him to four years CCS/ISP for the felony charges. He was further fined $1,250 and ordered to surrender his driver’s license for the drug charge. Pennington also got six months in jail for the misdemeanor theft charges, but the jail stay was suspended. Pennington was placed on one year of probation. He must also pay a total of $570 in restitution to three victims.

“My client has personal matters he would like to attend to before he goes to STAR,” his attorney, Warren Morford explained. “He does have a warrant out of Florida. I don’t mean to shoot myself in the foot.”

Typically the court does not allow convicted felons a furlough if they have warrants in other locales and Bowling did not grant the request.

Donald Ball, 26, 108 North St., Coal Grove, pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking in drugs, a crime that occurred within the vicinity of a juvenile.

Bowling sentenced Ball to four years in prison and ordered him to pay a $5,000 fine. Ball must also forfeit his driver’s license for one year.

However, his attorney, Mike Davenport, said Ball will likely file documents showing he is indigent and can’t pay the fine or his court costs. Ball must report to prison June 13.

Bowling denied a request to allow Ball to remove his electronic monitoring to allow him to visit with family members who do not live at his residence.