Violations land Hillsboro woman back in prison


A Hillsboro woman released early from prison last August admitted to violating her judicial release and is headed back to serve the remainder of her sentence.

Merion Lee Smith, 49, was convicted by a guilty plea of third-degree felony burglary in February 2011, court records show. She was sentenced to four years in prison, consecutive to other sentences she was already serving out of Hamilton County at the time.

She was granted judicial release in August 2015 and, according to court records, a notification of alleged violations was filed with the court in March. Since that notification was filed with the court, records show that two warrants were issued on different dates when she failed to appear in the Highland County Common Pleas Court on the matter.

On Wednesday she admitted to the violations outlined in the March notification that included her failing to report to probation, consuming illicit drugs, and failing to enter into and successfully complete recommended treatment.

Her judicial release was revoked and she was ordered to serve the remainder of her prison sentence.

In other hearings, four defendants were granted judicial release to the STAR residential treatment program.

Lindsey Verne, 30, Hillsboro, was granted judicial release from prison to treatment.

Verne pled guilty to fourth-degree felony aggravated trafficking in drugs and third-degree felony illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs in April 2015. At the time she was sentenced to a total of 40 months in prison.

Ashlee M. Bear, 27, Mount Orab, was also granted judicial release to treatment.

Bear was sentenced to a total of 42 months in prison in January 2015 after pleading guilty to illegal assembly and aggravated theft, both third-degree felonies.

Also granted judicial release to treatment was Felicia Ann Coonrod, 31, Kingston.

Coonrod in October pled guilty to failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer and illegal assembly, both third-degree felonies, and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Roger Lee McClain, 34, Lynchburg, on Thursday was granted judicial release from a three-year prison sentence he began serving nearly two and a half years ago after pleading guilty to second-degree felony illegal manufacture of drugs.

According to judge Rocky Coss, the court was notified that McClain was eligible for release as he had served 80 percent of his sentence.

Coss said that while the state mandates that a sentence imposed on an illegal manufacture charge carries a mandatory sentence, the state also provides for early release when a defendant has served 80 percent of their sentence.

The judge noted McClain’s record while in prison, which includes the defendant’s involvement in positive programming, and that this was McClain’s first felony offense. He said he believed it was in McClain’s best interest to go to the STAR program, which he is set to do in July.

Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.

Four defendants granted judicial release to treatment

By Angela Shepherd

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