GREENVILLE — A drug deal minus any drugs led to a call for an acquittal in a bench trial in Darke County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday. Judge Jonathan P. Hein presided.
Caitlon S. Nunley, 25, of Greenville, was accused of trafficking, when she attempted to sell methamphetamine to what turned out to be a confidential informant or CI for the Greenville Police Department on May 20.
The defendant and CI had first agreed via Facebook messenger to make the transaction in the vicinity of the Greenville Public Library. However, the deal fell through leading to a second attempt with the CI driving the defendant to a home on Chestnut Street.
A video presented in court by prosecuting attorney Deborah Quigley showed the defendant exit the confidential informant’s vehicle to allegedly purchase drugs inside the Chestnut home. Several minutes later, the defendant returned to the vehicle to exchange a Newport cigarette pack containing what was presumed to be an eight ball or 3.5 grams of meth to the CI for $120.
An aerial map presented as evidence showed the transaction took place within 1,000 feet of the DeColores Montessori School on Central Avenue.
If found guilty of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, Nunley faced a mandatory, minimum three-year prison sentence.
Defense attorney David Rohrer argued against the submission of the map citing the distance was 0.3 miles or 1,584 feet. Further, a field test conducted by authorities and a lab test failed to identify the crystallized material as a controlled substance leading to his call for an acquittal.
“There was no meth involved,” said Rohrer, who went on to state that his client needed the money and that the charge should have been trafficking in counterfeit controlled substances.
For several minutes, prosecution, defense, and Judge Hein debated the definition of a controlled substance and consulted the Ohio Revised Code only for the acquittal to be overruled with no further evidence presented by either defense or prosecution.
In closing, Quigley stated the transaction was an offer to sell, that Nunley’s intentions were expressed not only through actions but her words regardless of any actual controlled substance.
For Rohrer, the defendant was a young lady who “needed the money” and that his client was guilty of trafficking in a counterfeit controlled substance. “There was no meth.”
During sentencing, Rohrer further stated, “Three and a half grams of nothing is nothing,” pointing out his client had been attending e-jail, Freedom 101, and Brianna’s Hope, along with Recovery and Wellness.
Nunley echoed the program attendance stating she was “really wanting my health now — before I never did. I’ve put a lot of change in myself.”
After a review of the case and taking into consideration the defendant’s prior history, Judge Hein sentenced Nunley to 12 months prison with 45 days jail credit and up to three years of post-release control.