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Chesapeake woman sentenced to life in prison for role in murder

Numerous other cases heard in common pleas

A Chesapeake woman involved with a murder back in December of last year was sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole after 20 years, in Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Charles Cooper’s courtroom Wednesday.

Brandy N. Miller, 34, of 127 Township Road 1079, Apt. A, Chesapeake, previously pleaded guilty to complicity to aggravated murder, an unclassified felony. In exchange for her guilty plea, the state agreed to nolle charges of first-degree complicity to kidnapping and third-degree tampering with evidence.

Miller, along with co-defendant Russell Adkins, 37, of 197 County Road 1, Lot 56, South Point, are accused of causing the death of Larry Scott Stephenson on or about Dec. 1 or Dec. 2, 2017. Miller was the girlfriend of Stephenson.

Adkins is accused of assaulting Stephenson unconscious before he and Miller drove him to an abandoned house, tied his hands and feet together, and left him there until deputies found his body days later.

Adkins, who previously pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder, is set to have a pretrial March 28, with a trial date set for April 23.

A third co-defendant in the case, Amanda Chapman, age and address unknown, is set to hear a final offer on May 9 with a trial date set for May 10 if she doesn’t accept.

In other cases:

• Cheyenne Belville, 19, of 1412 S. First St., Ironton, denied community-controlled sanctions (CCS) violations. Cooper set CCS trial for April 18.

• Ryan W. Debord, 35, of 110 East St., Flatwoods, Kentucky, admitted CCS violations. Cooper ordered him to complete STAR with 11 months reserved.

• Keith A. Dixon, 31, of 2990 Township Road 323, Ironton, changed his plea from not guilty to not guilty by reason of insanity for assault on a peace officer, a fourth-degree felony, and theft, a felony of the fifth-degree. Cooper ordered for him to be evaluated.

• Crystal G. Hodge, age and address unknown, pleaded not guilty to possession of cocaine, a fifth-degree felony, and possession of drugs, a first-degree misdemeanor. Cooper continued bond at $5,000 from lower court and added a $5,000 OR bond. Pretrial was set for April 11.

• Cassie Huff, 28, of 822 West End Ave., Huntington, West Virginia, pleaded guilty to possession of drugs (methamphetamine), a fifth-degree felony. Cooper sentenced her to four years CCS under ISP with one year reserved, and ordered her to complete treatment at Mended Reeds.

• Douglas N. Price Jr., 35, of 1030 Miller Road, Wheelersburg, or 157 Township Road 1425, South Point, denied CCS violations. Cooper set CCS trial for April 4.

• Jonathan J. Ratcliff, 22, of 77 Township Road 1019, South Point, pleaded guilty to improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony. Cooper sentenced him to four years CCS under ISP with 18 months reserved, and ordered him to complete STAR.

• Dina D. Blasko, 36, of 1915 N. Third St., Ironton, pleaded not guilty to tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony. Judge Andy Ballard set bond at $15,000 cash or surety and $30,000 OR. Pretrial was set for April 4.

• Dakota Fleming, 22, of 816 S. 10th St., Ironton, pleaded guilty to trafficking in drugs (methamphetamine), a fourth-degree felony. Ballard sentenced her to four years CCS under intensive supervised probation (ISP) with 17 months reserved, and ordered her to complete STAR and 200 hours community service.

• Joshua Harmon, 34, of 615 Monroe St., Ironton, pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and possession of heroin, a felony of the fifth-degree. Ballard sentenced him to four years CCS under ISP with one year reserved, and ordered him to continue receiving VA treatment and complete 200 hours community service.

• Richard Heaberlin II, 48, of 615 S. 10th St., Ironton, previously pleaded not guilty to trafficking in drugs (methamphetamine), a fourth-degree felony, and possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), a fifth-degree felony. He rejected the state’s final offer to nolle the trafficking charge and plead guilty to the possession charge to receive a sentence of four years CCS under ISP and to complete STAR. If he is found guilty at trial, he is facing a maximum sentence of 30 months in prison. He is currently out on bond with GPS monitoring until his trial date of May 7 and 8.

• Kimberly Johnson, 27, of 165 Township Road 1034, South Point, denied CCS violations. Ballard set CCS trial for May 4.

• Jerrod McKinney, 37, of 38 Township Road 1321, Proctorville, admitted CCS violations. Ballard continued his CCS under ISP and ordered him to complete STAR and 200 hours community service.

• Ronald Pemberton, 35, of 312 Township Road 137W, Ironton, changed his plea from not guilty to not guilty by reason of insanity for a charge of attempt to commit burglary, a third-degree felony. Ballard ordered for him to be evaluated.

• Gary Scott, 38, of 124 Township Road 1049, Ironton, admitted CCS violations. Ballard sentenced him to 17 months in prison.

• Vanessa Thibodaux, 29, of 106 Private Road 4649, Ironton, pleaded guilty to failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer, a third-degree felony. Ballard sentenced her to four years CCS under ISP with two years reserved, and ordered her to complete STAR and 200 hours community service.

• Leidawn Vaughn, 26, of 6122 Bertha St., Ashland, Kentucky, pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), a fifth-degree felony. She was eligible for intervention in lieu of conviction, and Ballard ordered her to complete treatment with regular drug testing.

• William C. Webb II, 32, of 101 S. Ninth St., Ironton, pleaded guilty to vandalism, a fifth-degree felony. Ballard sentenced him to four years CCS under ISP, and ordered him to complete STAR and 200 hours community service.

• Vanessa Woods, 30, of 116 Ashland Drive, Apt. A, South Point, pleaded guilty to aggravated trafficking in drugs and aggravated possession of drugs (methamphetamine), both felonies of the second-degree. Ballard sentenced her to five years in prison and ordered her to pay court costs.

• Gerrica Woodyard, 24, of 228 Township Road 1287, Chesapeake, pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), a fifth-degree felony. Ballard sentenced her to four years CCS under ISP with 11 months reserved, and ordered her to complete STAR, 200 hours community service and pay court costs.

• Ellen Whitten, 59, of 3116 S. Fifth St., Ironton, pleaded not guilty to possession of heroin, a fifth-degree felony. Ballard set bond at $7,500 cash or surety and $15,000 OR. Pretrial was set for April 11