Probation revoked in court
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Belmont County Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato revoked several probations for various violations during court session Monday.
Seth Alan Pickens, 22, of 54305 Fulton Hill Road, Bellaire, had his probation revoked and his sentence of 18 months in prison imposed. He originally was charged with a fourth-degree felony assault of a police officer on Sept. 9, 2015.
Fregiato said Pickens was sentenced to 18 months in February, suspended to six months in jail with mental health counseling. Pickens’ violations included possession of marijuana, driving left of center, driving under the influence and failure to make payments.
“This is while you’re on probation,” Fregiato said. “That’s just incredible to me.”
In other matters, Lauren Nicole Pressley, 22, incarcerated, of Indiana, had her probation revoked and sentence imposed after failing the drug court program. She originally was convicted of two counts of possession of drugs. The fifth-degree felony occurred March 20, 2017.
Fregiato imposed three years of community controls. Pressley will serve six months in jail and six months at the Eastern Ohio Correction Center. The judge said she will be granted credit for time served, but the time still needed to be calculated.
Her defense attorney admitted she had failed the rehabilitation program and has been incarcerated in Indiana and Ohio.
“I would like to apologize to the court for living my life in such ways I did nothing but defy the programs in which I was involved in,” Pressley said, adding that she had been unable to control her addiction. “I would like to do what is right and go forward from here.”
“You had a golden opportunity,” Fregiato said. “This court believes that Ms. Pressley has done everything she could to make an absolute mockery over the subject program.”
He said Pressley left for Indiana without completing treatment or contacting the probation officer.
“She was arrested after being on the run, with a felon in possession of a loaded gun in her car,” Fregiato said. “She had marijuana and Xanax in her possession and gave the police a false name in her attempt to evade arrest. She was on the run for over six months.”
In other matters, three women in a contraband-smuggling ring involving the Belmont Correctional Institute were in court. Fregiato suspended their sentences and three years of community control sanctions because they have cooperated with law enforcement.
The woman are Michelle Ball, 48, of 1977 Kim Drive, Akron; Jennifer Bates, 43, of 2161 Savoy Ave., Akron; and Amy Croft, 25, of 1166 S. Ave., Barberton. All three were convicted of third-degree felony money laundering that occurred in 2013 and 2014.
According to the Belmont County Prosecutor’s office, they were originally sentenced in 2017 to six months in jail and six months at the Eastern Ohio Correction Center.
The prosecutor’s office said the crimes were part of an elaborate and sophisticated scheme involving the smuggling of drugs, cell phones, tobacco and, perhaps, other items.
Ashley Ilene Conaway, 34, of 544 North 8th St., Martins Ferry, was arraigned and pleaded innocent to possession of drugs. The second-degree felony occurred April 29. Her pre-trial was set for Dec. 17, with plea agreement hearing Jan. 14 and trial Feb. 12. Her bond was set at $17,150.
Aaron Larry Hoplite, 41, incarcerated, was arraigned and pleaded innocent to complicity to illegal conveyance of prohibited items onto a government facility. The third-degree felony occurred Aug. 16, 2017. His pre-trial was set for Dec. 17, with plea agreement Jan. 14 and trial Jan. 24. His bond was set at $10,000.