Judge Sentences Two Defendants
Two more defendants in the Sept. 1 heroin delivery conspiracy case have been sentenced for their felonious acts in Wetzel County Circuit Court on Dec. 1. Natacia L. Lallathin and Colby J. Acree both pleaded guilty prior to their sentencing hearings on Wednesday before Judge Mark A. Karl
Natacia L. Lallathin, 27, of 906 1/2 Meadow Heights, Paden City, was sentenced to one to five years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Women with credit for 92 days served for her one count felony charge of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance (heroin). She can file for a Rule 35 sentence modification after serving six months in prison, providing there are no write-ups or violations against her while incarcerated. Due to her diagnosis of cervical cancer, Lallathin is further granted to see medical personnel at the penitentiary and a specialist in Morgantown if necessary. She is also ordered to pay court costs.
When asked for a recommendation, the state chose to remain silent and leave sentencing up to the court. Then Lallathin’s attorney, Roger Weese, argued for alternative sentencing or probation for his client. He explained that in addition to being a mother, Lallathin would benefit from alternative sentencing or probation due to her medical needs to treat cervical cancer and to be able to finish school, noting she was attending West Virginia Northern Community College at the time of the offense and would like to use grants already awarded to her to be reinstated in school. He further shared with the court that Lallathin, who became a drug addict at age 14, has seen the error of her ways and wishes to get counseling and hopes to someday be a drug counselor to help others. He also said she was not a violent criminal, had no prior criminal record, and was someone who could be rehabilitated.
Weese also stated Lallathin has a very supportive family and noted Lallathin’s aunt was present and willing to give testimony. Judge Karl motioned for such testimony and Rhonda Hayes, employed as a substance abuse counselor, took the witness stand and told the court that as both a family member and a professional in the field, she was willing to offer support in the form of counseling, transportation, and child care. She went on to say she recommended drug court and treatment, as well as residency at a half-way house for her niece, adding she had already called such an establishment in Ohio County.
Lallathin also addressed the court, first apologizing for the time and money spent on her because of her addiction. She then thanked Wetzel County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Haught for not recommending her bond be lowered earlier during earlier court proceedings. She said she was angry with him at first but realizes now that if she had made bond she probably would have relapsed. “My daughter wouldn’t have a mother today,” she acknowledged. “It was a wake up call. For the first time I can say that I’m going to stay clean.”
On Oct. 27 Lallathin pleaded guilty to her one count felony offense said to have occurred on or about Sept. 1 in Wetzel County wherein she allegedly conspired with Brock I. McMahon, Joshua R. Mathews, and Colby J. Acree to deliver heroin, a Schedule I controlled substance.
Colby J. Acree, 20, of 203 South Second Avenue, Paden City, was sentenced in Wetzel County Circuit Court to the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men for one to five years for the felony offense of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance (heroin). Pursuant to the plea agreement, Acree was ordered to admit to his probation violations in Tyler County, wherein each sentence from both counties would run concurrently.
Acree did just that the following day before Judge David W. Hummel Jr., who revoked Acree’s probation and imposed the original sentence of one to five years in the West Virginia State Penitentiary for Men. Furthermore, Acree was given credit for time served in both Wetzel and Tyler County cases. He will also receive drug counseling and treatment and is ordered to pay all court costs. Notably, the state agreed to the recommendation that Acree be granted parole after serving the minimum sentence. Acree was transferred to the Division of Corrections side of the Northern Regional Jail to await incarceration by them.
On Oct. 4 Acree entered a plea of innocence to his one-count indictment of the felony offense of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance (heroin) to have occurred on or about Sept. 1 in Wetzel County. He allegedly conspired with Brock I. McMahon, Joshua R. Mathews, and Natacia L. Lallathin to deliver heroin, a Schedule I controlled substance.
On or about Aug. 5, 2008 Acree allegedly committed the same felony offense of delivery of a controlled substance (heroin) in Tyler County. On Feb. 4 Acree pleaded guilty to the offense and was incarcerated in the state penitentiary with permission to file a Rule 35 sentence modification motion after a short period of time. Acree was released on a Rule 35 motion on June 9 and was placed on two years probation.
On Dec. 2 Acree admitted to violating the following terms of probation: not violating criminal law, abstaining from the use of illegal substances, and not leaving the state without consent when he took part in the conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance (heroin) in Wetzel County on or about Sept. 1 in that he broke the law, used heroin, and went to Pittsburgh without consent to obtain the drugs.
On Oct. 4 Brock Ian McMahon, 20, of 400 West Main Street, Paden City, pleaded guilty by way of information for the one-count felony offense of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance (heroin). McMahon was sentenced to one to five years in the West Virginia State Penitentiary for Men with credit for 32 days served.
As per the plea agreement, one charge in Wetzel County Magistrate Court and two sealed indictments in Wetzel County Circuit Court were dismissed.
Meanwhile, Joshua Ryan Mathews, 29, of 927 Bolen Road, Paden City, pleaded guilty on Sept. 24 by way of information for a one-count felony offense of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance (heroin). Mathews was to return to Wetzel County Circuit Court Oct. 29 at 10 a.m. for his sentencing hearing. However, that hearing was continued.