Blizzard to Prison For Heroin Possession
NEW MARTINSVILLE – Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Cramer sentenced a New Martinsville man for possession of heroin on Thursday in Wetzel County Circuit Court.
Ethan Tyler Blizzard, 21, will serve between one to 15 years in prison and pay a fine of $10,000.
Blizzard’s accomplice, Tammi Anderson, was sentenced one to 15 years years in prison earlier this year in Wetzel County Circuit Court.
Prior to sentencing, Blizzard’s mother and father among others spoke on his behalf.
“I come to you as the mother of a young man whose life has gone down the wrong path in the world of drugs and crime,” Blizzard’s mother, Sandy Nelson, said. “Know this. Above all else, I love my son very much. I would do anything humanly possible to make him well and take him from the hellhole he is in, but, repeated attempts at recovery have failed. Drugs have won each time. For this reason, I’ve come to ask you that the Court order, as part of his sentencing, long term treatment.”
Nelson’s hands were shaking as she spoke to the court about her son’s struggle with drugs since he was a teenager. She advocated having him treated by Ohio Valley Teen Challenge program, which helps those afflicted with drug addiction.
“I’m not asking you not to punish Tyler; he has already spent three months in jail,” she said. “It will take time to send him to one of the many Teen Challenge treatment centers, which will be additional jail time. The teen challenge program will last a year. If he does not complete the program 100 percent, part of his sentence should be to return to prison to complete his sentence.”
Joe Lantini, a pastor with the Ohio Valley Teen Challenge, advocated strongly for this faith-based program based on his own experiences overcoming substance abuse as well as others who have risen to the challenge.
“I’ve seen old men, young men in the program their lives have changed,” he said.
Nelson’s voice was cracked with emotion as she said, “I love my son. I always will, but I want you to be drug free, have a family, home, all the things that every parent dreams of for their children, but you need help and you are not strong enough to do this on your own.”
A point echoed by Blizzard’s father, Fred.
“I’m not here to make any excuses for him,” he said. “He’s done wrong, but he’s my son.”
Blizzard apologized for his actions.
“I want to tell the court how sorry I am,” he said.
Judge Cramer said though he was empathetic toward the family, Blizzard just doesn’t get to say he is “sorry and go to rehab.”
Earlier this year, Blizzard was indicted on separate drug charges. While Blizzard was on bond, he was arrested by New Martinsville police and charged with possession of heroin one of the largest drug busts in recent Wetzel County history. Blizzard had more than 700 stamp bags of heroin when he was arrested.
Cramer said he has to take that into consideration because with Blizzard in jail, he wouldn’t be on the streets selling drugs that might cause someone to overdose. Cramer said he has to “look out for the community as a whole.”
Because Blizzard’s original charges were determined not to have occurred in Wetzel County, those charges were dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction when he pleaded to this latest offense.
Blizzard was sentenced on Thursday to the maximum amount of prison time for his latest charge for possession of heroin.
Blizzard must serve at least one year in prison before he is able to be eligible for parole, Cramer ruled.
The court made no agreement to release Blizzard after one year in prison. However, Blizzard has the right to file a motion requesting the court to reconsider his sentence, court officials said.
“There is no binding agreement on the court or the state regarding the motion,” Wetzel County Prosecutor Tim Haught said after court adjourned. “Mr. Blizzard was sentenced to the maximum sentence allowed by law which was not less than one year nor more than 15 years in prison.”