Drug cases sentenced in court


ST. CLAIRSVILLE — A Martins Ferry man will spend six years behind bars after being convicted of drug charges.

Ricky Runner, 25, of 69711 Ohio St., was sentenced Monday for drug trafficking offenses and failure to appear. Belmont County Common Pleas Judge John Vavra imposed a sentence of five years after Runner pleaded guilty to trafficking in drugs on Feb. 9, and one year each for charges of possession of drugs and failure to appear, which occurred Feb. 5. The year-long sentences will be served concurrently and consecutive to the five-year sentence for a total of six years. Runner was given 219 days’ credit for time served.

In August, he had pleaded guilty to the lesser drug possession charge and a jury found him guilty of the failure to appear charge.

Belmont County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Flanagan said the charges stem from a traffic stop resulting in a low-level drug charge.

“He was given a recognizance bond in the lower court. He failed to show up on the recognizance bond,” Flanagan said. “We had an additional charge. At the time he was arrested on the warrant from the recognizance bond violation, he was found with a considerable amount of methamphetamine. We believe Mr. Runner is a trafficker of methamphetamine, and we are very pleased with Judge Vavra’s sentence.”


In other matters, William James Carr, 41, of 217 N. Erie St., Wheeling pleaded guilty to failure to comply with the order or signal of police on Feb. 5. Vavra imposed the agreed-upon sentence of two years in prison with credit for 73 days served.

The charges stem from a high-speed chase on U.S. 40 through Bridgeport that exceeded 90 mph, ending with Carr crashing his vehicle into a sheriff’s department cruiser. Carr was apologetic during sentencing.

“I’m ready to be held accountable for my poor decisions and reckless behavior. I apologize to the citizens and officers of Belmont County for putting the lives of innocent people in danger,” Carr said.

He asked Vavra to consider his longtime struggles with drug addiction.

Joshua Dee Lucas, 27, of 476 Main St., Bethesda was sentenced for attempted theft of a motor vehicle on Feb. 11. He was given two years of community controls. He will serve six months in jail with credit for 79 days. Vavra ordered him to enroll in counseling.


Vavra reviewed Lucas’ prior record, including a felony conviction for vandalism and receiving stolen property and misdemeanor convictions for charges including operating a vehicle under the influence, resisting arrest, drug abuse and possession of drug paraphernalia, as well as his longtime issues with substance abuse.

“Despite what I would like to do, Mr. Lucas, under the current legislative scheme, you’re not eligible for a prison sentence,” Vavra said. “A community control sentence is the only sentence available to the court.”

Devon Alexander Bertram, 30, last known address Zane Highway, Martins Ferry was arraigned and pleaded innocent to trafficking in heroin and trafficking in a fentanyl compound, both allegedly occurring April 12. His pretrial hearing was set for Sept. 30 with a plea agreement hearing Oct. 28 and trial Nov. 14.

Destin Jakob Eugene Coe of St. Clairsville was arraigned and pleaded innocent to aggravated possession of drugs, which allegedly occurred Jan. 22. His pretrial hearing was set for Sept. 30 with a plea agreement hearing Oct. 15 and trial Oct. 31. His bond was set at $3,000.

David Eugene Davis, 28, of 2423 Lincoln Ave., Shadyside pleaded guilty to two counts of domestic violence, a felony of the fourth degree occurring May 14. Vavra imposed the agreed-upon sentence of two years in prison, with the last six months to be spent in the Eastern Ohio Correction Center.

Alicia Dawn Kidder, 39, of 60545 Pipe Creek Road, Jacobsburg was sentenced to 13 months of community controls for possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree occurring Feb. 6. Vavra noted her lifetime addiction issues as well as serious developmental issues.


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