A Hillsboro man appeared in Fayette County Common Pleas Court on Monday and asked for a six-month prison sentence on a drug possession charge after declining an offer to enroll in a six-month treatment program.
Ronald N. Sapp, 42, pled guilty to aggravated possession of drugs (methamphetamine), a fifth-degree felony, stemming from an incident on July 4, 2017 when he was found asleep in a parking lot in Washington Court House. Judge Steven Beathard sentenced Sapp to six months in prison with 22 days of local jail time credited.
On July 4, an individual called police to report a possible overdose in the parking lot of Walmart where Sapp appeared to be asleep in his car, according to reports.
Washington Court House Police Department officers located Sapp in the car and found that along with having an active warrant for his arrest from the Hillsboro Police Department, he was in possession of a baggie that contained methamphetamine.
Sapp said during Monday’s hearing, “I was asleep,” and maintained that he did not overdose.
Because methamphetamine is known to cause difficulty sleeping, the chemical imbalance can lead people to “fall out” — a term typically used to describe people who abruptly fall asleep or “crash” throughout the day from drug use because they haven’t slept.
Sapp’s public defense attorney, Susan Wollscheid, told the court Monday that her client was not a “frequent flyer” in the court system and said the death of his girlfriend triggered his drug use in the July incident.
Judge Steven Beathard said, “The court has no pre-conception of that based on his prior convictions. That’s why the court approved the minimum sentence.”
Sapp has a prior conviction in Highland County.
According to statements made by Sapp during Monday’s hearing, he was sentenced by Highland County Court of Common Pleas Judge Rocky Coss to serve a 13-month prison sentence on a meth charge in 2013. Sapp said he was released from prison in 2015, and added that he completed the terms of his probation in Highland County.
Sapp said he began using meth in 2017, but has not actively used the past six months.
During the hearing Monday, Beathard said the law presumes Sapp will return to prison on the new drug charge in Fayette County.
“You have a meth problem and 13 months in prison didn’t help it,” said Beathard.
Beathard told Sapp the Fayette County court would have him evaluated to undergo inpatient treatment. Sapp said he’s never participated in any inpatient treatment programs.
Wollscheid and the Fayette County Prosecutor’s Office conferred over the case, and while there was a presumptive prison sentence, Sapp was offered a period of community control sanctions. The terms were that he would be sanctioned by a community-based correctional facility.
Beathard said that in Fayette County, that would mean going to the MonDay program in Dayton for a six-month inpatient “lock-down” program. In addition, Sapp would face up to five years of probation.
Sapp negotiated for a minimum prison sentence on the charge and chose not to accept the offer to spend six months in the inpatient recovery program.
When imposing the minimum sentence of six months in prison, Beathard said Sapp will be eligible for good-time credit while imprisoned, but will not be eligible for transitional control into a halfway house.
Sapp faced a maximum possible sentence of one year in prison for the charge.
No license suspension was ordered. A fine of $2,500 was imposed but suspended along with court costs.
Ashley Bunton can be reached at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton.