A Greenfield man was sentence to a total of 10 years in prison Friday following guilty verdicts returned by a jury in Highland County Common Pleas Court.
The two-day trial found John David Ralston, 47, guilty of first-degree felony possession of heroin, fifth-degree felony aggravated possession of methamphetamine, two counts of fifth-degree felony receiving stolen property, and one count of fourth-degree felony receiving stolen property.
The jury also found on Friday that a 2000 white Chevy truck was subject to forfeiture.
Ralston was indicted on the charges in July. The Times-Gazette previously reported that his charges stemmed from April police searches of his Jefferson Street home and a building Ralston reportedly uses for business. During those searches, stolen items and heroin were found.
The search warrants were the result of an investigation following a reported break-in and theft at Weastec in Greenfield’s industrial park.
Prior to sentencing, Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins said that in a previous case with a similar amount of heroin, the court imposed a 10-year sentence. For that reason, the state asked that Ralston be sentenced to “no less than 10 years,” she said.
Defense attorney Patrick Mulligan said there was “virtually no information that there was any trafficking going on” and that he “personally disagreed with the verdict.” The defense requested a sentence closer to the minimum prison time rather than the maximum.
When asked if wanted to say anything, Ralston said, “They weren’t my drugs, your honor.”
Judge Rocky Coss referenced Ralston’s record, saying that it contained a history of drug trafficking and receiving stolen property convictions.
Ralston told the court that he has served three stints in prison.
The judge said Ralston’s current case involved “a huge amount of heroin to have at one time,” which was “certainly an indication of drug trafficking.” The Times-Gazette previously reported that the amount was just over 70 grams.
Ralston was sentenced to seven years mandatory time in prison on the heroin charge and one year on the charge of fourth-degree felony receiving stolen property. He was sentenced to eight months in prison on each of the other three charges.
That sentences are to run consecutively with each other.
Coss said that “given the variety of the offenses” and the “harm that’s caused by these,” one prison term would “not adequately reflect the seriousness.”
Ralston was also fined $10,000 on the heroin charge. His license was suspended for three years.
Mulligan told The Times-Gazette following the trial that the defense intends to file a notice of appeal.
Reach Sarah Allen at 937-393-3456, ext. 1680, or on Twitter @SarahAllenHTG.
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