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Failure of drug test leads to $250,000 bond

Feb. 21, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

IRONTON -- Bond on a Huntington man was increased to $250,000 and he was remanded into custody Wednesday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court after he tested positive for cocaine during a drug test.

Joseph H. Stevens, 36, rejected a potential plea agreement Wednesday that would have sent him to prison for three years and then have him eligible for judicial release after serving six months to the STAR Commuity Justice Center in Franklin Furnace, Ohio.

Due to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, judges are getting the final plea offer on the record in open court. Stevens, who is charged with theft of a firearm, has a felony record, said Mack Anderson, an assistant Lawrence County prosecutor. The case is set for trial Feb. 28 before Judge Charles "Chuck" Cooper.

In an unrelated case, Jason Scott Preston, 37, of County Road 6, Ironton, pleaded guilty to felony driving under the influence and was sentenced to two years in prison, fined $3,500, and had his driver's license suspended for three years.

Preston asked for a furlough to get some tools and to marry his girlfriend before heading to prison. "My actions are irresponsible," Preston said. "I'm a certified welder. I need a license to get to work."

Cooper denied the furlough request, saying Preston has six DUI convictions on his record. He also ordered that Preston be required to have an interlock device requiring a breath test to check alcohol levels before he can operate the vehicle should Preston ever get a driver's license again. Cooper also ordered Preston to get special license plates showing he is a convicted DUI felon.

In other cases:

Tony A. Rossiter, 42, of County Road 195, Crown City, has been ruled not guilty by reason of insanity and unable to stand trial of felonious assault against a neighbor. Cooper ordered Appalachian Behavioral Health in Athens, Ohio, to prepare an evaluation and treatment plan for Rossiter. He can be held for up to eight years to determine if he can be restored to competency, said Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson. The criminal court can maintain jurisdiction of the case for eight years. After that the case becomes a civil matter, under review by the county juvenile probate court.

Michael S. Tipton, 26, of Private Drive 1255, South Point, admitted violating community control sanctions and was sentenced by Cooper to 15 months in prison.

Phillip A. Dingess, 32, of County Road 1, South Point, was sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of breaking and entering and one count of complicity to breaking and entering. He also was ordered to pay $35,200 in restitution for breaking into storage buildings.

Kala Moore, 24, of Kentucky 503, Wurtland, Ky., pleaded guilty to illegal assembly or manufacture of drugs of abuse and attempted tampering with evidence. Judge D. Scott Bowling placed her on community control sanctions for four years, fined her $2,500, suspended her driver's license for six months, ordered her to do 200 hours of community service and ordered her to complete the program at STAR.

Savannah N. Jenkins, 25, of the 2600 block of South 5th Street, Ironton, was placed on four years of community control sanctions. She pleaded guilty earlier to possession of drugs and misdemeanor endangering children. She was taken into custody prior to being placed in the STAR program for up to six months.

Melissa Farmer, 28, of the 1600 block of South 5th Street, Ironton, was ordered to do 100 hours of community service and get treatment at Family Guidance after she was released from STAR due to a medical problem.

Bond was increased to $20,000 cash for Danny Jones, 25, and his wife, Rachel K. Jones, 28, both of the 500 block of 3rd Street East, South Point, after they failed a drug screen while awaiting trial on drug charges. Carl Bowen, chief probation officer, said they were among five people picked up last week by his office. "We'll be doing more in-home visits," Bowen said. "We'll have at least one officer per day out doing home visits and checking on outstanding warrants."

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