Man sentenced to four years in assault case

Published 11:16 am Friday, March 10, 2017

Judge Andrew Ballard to participate in drug diversion symposium

Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Ballard, on Wednesday, sentenced Donald A. Skaggs, 50, of Ironton, to four years in prison for a felony 2 offense of felonious assault. Skaggs was charged with “knowingly caus(ing) serious physical harm to Amber Skaggs”, and then resisting arrest, a misdemeanor 2 offense. Skaggs was also ordered to pay court costs, and could be eligible for parole and release to a program at STAR Community Justice Center after one year if he maintains good behavior.

Ballard also handed out a total of 16 months in sentences for CCS violations at trial on Wednesday. Jennifer Flora, 26, of Huntington, was found guilty and sentenced to six months in prison.

Jimmy L. Holbrook, 36, of Lawrence County, was also found guilty of CCS violations and sentenced to four months in prison. Wendi Johnson, 40, of Chesapeake, was found guilty and sentenced to six months in prison for CCS violations as well.

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Mary Jenkins McGraw, 45, of Chesapeake, admitted to her CCS violation at arraignment and was sentenced to complete a program at STAR and had her CCS extended for another year. Failure to complete her program or to follow the terms of her CCS could land her up to 11 months in prison.

Debra L. Ostby, 28, of Ironton, also admitted to her CCS violation and had her CCS continued for one year. In addition, she was ordered to complete a program at STAR and 200 hours of community service.

Thomas Jenkins, 30, of Ironton, pleaded guilty during his arraignment for three counts of trafficking in Oxycodone and was sentenced to four years of CCS with ISP, to complete a program at STAR, forfeit $5235 to the Ironton police department, and complete 200 hours of community service. He will remain under house arrest with a GPS monitor until he begins his program at STAR. Failure to meet any of the conditions of his negotiated plea could result in up to 36 months in prison time.

Ballard also had a treatment-in-lieu-of-conviction success story in his courtroom on Wednesday. Joseph Willis, 27, of Grayson, had his case reviewed one year after completing treatment and was found to be maintaining his sobriety and to have met all the requirements of his CCS, and was released from the terms of his community control sanctions.

Ballard said that he would like to see more such success stories. However, he said, “The problem needs to be attacked before (people are) in the system.”

He and Prosecutor Brigham Anderson will be participating in a Community Prevention and Recovery (CPR) Symposium at 6 p.m. on March 23 at C3 Church in South Point to discuss diversion programs, but also strategies for addressing addiction problems before people end up in the criminal system.

“There is no quick fix,” Ballard said, “but any solution is going to have to come from community involvement.”

The symposium is an attempt to encourage that community involvement. He said the event will feature guest speakers and opportunities to network, and that the last 45 minutes will feature a panel discussion with Ballard, Prosecutor Anderson, Diversion Program Coordinator Josh Whaley, Ohio State Patrol Trooper Josh Craft, a still-to-be-named medical provider and a representative of the city schools.

Ballard also wanted to clarify that Lawrence County, unlike some other Ohio communities, is not charging overdose patients a fine for the use of naloxone to revive them. In fact, Whaley explained, Lawrence County actually follows a Good Samaritan model. This means that, if you call in an overdose case to 911, you won’t be charged for drug use or possession at that time. If a person were under the influence of drugs at the time they made the call, he said, they would be given thirty days to “clean up” before any charges were brought against them.

“We don’t want people to die (because people are afraid to call),” Ballard added, whether that was from a fear of being charged a fine for the use of naloxone, or a fear of being arrested themselves for use and possession.

In Judge Charles Cooper’s courtroom on Wednesday, Walter Briggs, II, 26, of Detroit, Michigan, had his case continued once more. Briggs is charged with three counts, including trafficking in drugs (methamphetamine), possession of drugs, and trafficking in marijuana. He was arrested in a traffic stop earlier this year when a police dog triggered on the vehicle he was a passenger in.

Frank D. Smith. 62, of Huntington, also had his case continued. Smith is charged with complicity to felonious assault and complicity to attempted murder, tampering with evidence, and obstruction of justice in the attempted murder case of Marvin Sexton.

Sexton, whose pretrial is scheduled for March 15, is accused of assault and attempted murder in the attack of Missy Howard, who was beaten with a shovel.

Frances M. White, 21, of East Bank Kanawha, had her case continued as well. White is charged with six counts, including trafficking in cocaine, possession of cocaine, improper handling of a firearm, obstruction of justice, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of marijuana.

Elijah W. Chapman, 21 of Chesapeake, pleaded not guilty to charges of burglary and felonious assault. Chapman and Nicholas Lucas, 22, of Chesapeake, are charged with burglarizing the property of Dwayne Ferrell, and then assaulting Ferrell with a baseball bat and yard tool when he confronted them while in the process of burglarizing his property. Both Chapman and Lucas, who also pleaded not guilty, had their bond set at $10,000 cash surety or $20,000 property bonds, and $50,000 own recognizances, and ordered to wear a GPS monitor.

Custer M. Delawder, IV, 20, of Ironton, pleaded not guilty to two counts and was offered release on $50,000 cash surety bond and ordered to return to court in two weeks. Delawder is charged with burglary and possession of methamphetamine.

Jason Rice, 34, of Catlettsburg, plead not guilty to charges of trafficking in methamphetamine and had his bond set at $35,000 cash surety or $70,000 property.

Justin Dennison, 39, of Proctorville, was granted a motion to withdraw his previous guilty plea. Dennison is charged with aggravated menacing, abduction, aggravated arson, and carrying a concealed weapon. His bond was set at $100,000 cash surety.