Commonwealth Journal

October 22, 2007

7 people get time for drug offenses

By CHRIS HARRIS, Staff Writer

Somerset — Prison sentences were handed down to seven individuals last week during criminal motion hour in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

Among them were:

• John Wissing, 40, of Somerset. Wissing was given a seven-year sentence and had his probation revoked following a misstep just after being released from a previous term.

According to David L. Dalton, a prosecutor for eastern Kentucky anti-drug organization Operation UNITE, Wissing was originally sentenced in October of 2002 to seven years in prison for trafficking in methamphetamine, with the sentence probated for five years.

However, on September 23, 2007 — a mere 29 days after being released off of probation — Wissing was arrested by Burnside Police for possession of meth and drug paraphernalia.

Circuit Judge Jeffrey Burdette revoked Wissing’s probation and imposed the entire sentence. Wissing would likely receieve an additional year to his term for the most recent charge, bringing his total time behind bars to eight years.

“This case shows that we consider the end of probation just as important as the beginning,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Eddy Montgomery. “We expect the defendants to honor their promise of clean living and change throughout the entire program.”

• Jeffrey Hale, 27, of Somerset. Hale was sentenced to a couple of years in prison for two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance in or near a school, having pleaded guilty in September to selling marijuana to undercover UNITE officers within 1,000 yards of Somerset Christian Academy.

The latest sentence would run consecutively with a prior three-year sentence Hale receved in 2003 for burglary and theft, bringing his total to five years.

• Paul McQueen, 41, of Somerset. McQueen pleaded guilty to first-degree possession of a controlled substance, a first offense, and was sentenced to a year in prison.

In May 2007, McQueen was discovered with 10 Oxycontin pills on his person while receiving treatment at Lake Cumberland Regional Hosptal. A prisoner at the Pulaski County Detention Center at the ttime of the incident, McQueen had no good reason to have the pills, according to Dalton.

• Josh Mounce, 23, of Somerset. Mounce pleaded guilty and received a one-year sentence for trafficking in a controlled substance in or near a school. Dalton said that a confidential informant with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department purchased 6.8 grams of marijuana from Mounce from his Church Street residence.

The recent sentence would run consecutively with a prior three-year sentence Mounce receieved for marijuana cultivation for a total of four years in prison.

• Brandon Myers, 23, of Somerset. Myers was given two years in prison for theft by unlawful taking of over $300 worth of property, having stolen an air conditioner unit from a Eubank residence in February of this year, according to Dalton.

• Crystal Pitman, 26, was sentenced to three years after failing to complete a three-year pretrial diversion program on four counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, second degree, dating from March of this year.

In September, a warrant for Pitman’s arrest was issued, indicating that she had absconded, used controlled substances and associated with convicted felons. Dalton said that following her first hearing on September 20, Pitman’s diversion agreement was voided, but that the Commonwealth agreed to allow the expecting mother — she was seven months pregnant at the time — another six months until starting her sentence.

However, Pitman was quickly re-arrested upon proof that she was yet again associating with convicted felons. Judge Burdette ordered Pitman to immediately begin serving her three-year sentence, stating that the only chance her child had at a safe birth was with her being in custody.

• Misty R. New (a.k.a. Cook), 30, of Somerset. New was imprisoned for three years following a probation revocation hearing.

According to Dalton, New was sentenced to three years probation in March for possession of cocaine. New claimed at the sentencing that she did not have a drug problem and declined offers from both from the Commonwealth and the court for drug treatment.

However, on October 18’s session, New was found to have used Methamphetamine, Xanax, Oxycontin, and marijuana. The defendant, having failed to stay and clean and having refused treatment, asked the court to put her into treatment and keep her on probation. Dalton objected, claiming that New had been given ample opportunity to seek treatment and was now only wanting to avoid jail time. Judge Burdette revoked New’s probation and imposed the three-year term.