With life back on track, woman gets a break

LISBON – Three people sentenced for unrelated crimes on Thursday morning in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court received probation from Judge Scott Washam.

Melanie D. Paulin, who attempted to sneak a syringe of heroin into the county jail on April 16, 2013, claims to currently have her addiction issues and other life issues under control.

Paulin pleaded guilty in February to two counts of receiving stolen property for using the credit cards of an elderly woman, Sue Cole, to make several purchases in November 2011. Additionally, she had pleaded to illegal conveyance of drugs into a detention facility stemming from when she was being booked into the county jail on the receiving stolen property charge on April 16, 2013.

Her attorney, Doug King, told Washam he has several letters and emails from people who are now among those providing the emotional support Paulin needs. According to King, not only does Paulin have a drug issue but she also has had mental health issues in the past, some of which come from abuse she had suffered in the past.

“As she sits before you today, she has things in control,” King said, adding it is well known what heroin can do to people. Now, King said, Paulin has someone helping to make sure she takes the medications she needs in the right amounts for her other issues.

“I quit cold turkey, which is something I never thought I could do,” Paulin said, “but I did it for my daughter, my family and myself.”

Paulin’s sponsor, Eric Ward, also spoke before Washam relaying that not only has Paulin been “diligently working ” toward her own recovery for two years, but she recently helped him reach another person and get that person to seek treatment for addiction issues.

While Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble asked for an 18-month sentence for Paulin, who he noted has a “notable prior record,” Washam focused on Paulin’s recent progress. He gave her a four-year probation term, but ordered her to spend some of it at the Eastern Ohio Correctional Center when a bed becomes available.

In another hearing, April L. Matthews, 28, Youngstown, was given three years probation. Matthews previously pleaded guilty to a single count of trafficking in drugs for selling 27.4 grams of marijuana to a confidential informant for $150 on Dec. 2, 2011, in East Palestine.

King, also Matthews’ attorney, pointed out his client has “absolutely no criminal record whatsoever.”

“I’m sorry for what I did,” Matthews admitted before sentencing. “I’m not going to do anything else to see you again.”

Three additional counts of trafficking in drugs for alleged repeated sales of marijuana to a confidential informant, including a sale of 83.2 grams on March 28, 2012, were dismissed.

In a third case, Casey L. Reynolds, 34, West Lincoln Way, Lisbon, was placed on probation for one year for passing bad checks. She was charged with writing a check on the account of Teri Webber to Stadium GM Superstore for $5,800. Reynolds was purchasing a 2003 Chevrolet Trail Blazer. She also was ordered to make restitution to the dealership.

Gamble, who had at one time asked for jail time for Reynolds, said he was now in favor of probation with the condition Reynolds testify at future hearings where she was needed.