GREENVILLE — Though her court appearance attracted a number of supporters and friends speaking on her behalf, a Greenville woman was nonetheless sentenced to 18 months in prison Thursday.
Stephanie Lyn Brandeberry, 55, of Greenville, after pleading guilty to a single third-degree felony trafficking charge in July, appeared in Darke County Common Pleas Court to be sentenced by Judge Jonathan Hein.
Brandeberry was arrested February 24, along with Deborah Fornshil, also of Greenville. The two faced multiple felony charges for trafficking drugs and dealing drugs within 1,000 feet of a school — in this instance, Greenville Junior High School. Fornshil was earlier sentenced to five years of probation for her actions.
Brandeberry has a prior conviction for drug trafficking dating back to 2006, among other run-ins with the law, factors which led to her being sentenced to time behind bars.
Darke County Assistant Prosecutor Deborah Quigley, while commending Brandeberry for seeking treatment for her addiction, asked the court to sentence her to 18 months in prison.
“This is a deadly drug that causes extreme issues with anyone who takes it,” she said, noting that Brandeberry had not trafficked heroin, but fentanyl.
“This was not something she just did on her own,” Quigley added. “This was her actively selling this poison into the community. It was only once she got caught that she tries to clean up.”
Defense attorney Randall Breaden, noting Brandeberry’s efforts in recovery since being arrested, asked the court to instead sentence her to community control.
“Ms. Brandeberry was trafficking, but unlike what Ms. Quigley is making her to be, as a ‘major trafficker’ in Greenville, Ohio, is not the case. In fact, Ms. Brandeberry was doing probably what most of the trafficking cases we have, that come before this court, and that is trafficking enough to support her own heroin habit,” said Breaden.
A number of persons addressed the court on Brandeberry’s behalf, including Ginger Aldora of Recovery and Wellness Centers of Midwest Ohio.
“She has come such a long way,” said Aldora. “She has a perfect attendance and she goes above and beyond in her AA meetings.”
“She just amazes me and I wish we had more clients like her,” she added.
Judge Hein, while expressing appreciation for Brandeberry’s supporters, sentenced her to 18 months, with six days credited for time served, in the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville, Ohio.
“It essentially boils down to Ms. Brandeberry to decide whether it’s an anchor or a motivation coming out of incarceration. Because it can be both ways in my experience,” he said. “I think the prison sanction, the opportunity to see how bad it is, for you, could be a positive motivator.”
Hein added that Brandeberry could be eligible for early release, but cautioned her there was no guarantee she would get out early.
“If you go over there and get it wrong and start punching people, or go over there and do it wrong and have discipline problems, I’ll know all that stuff coming out,” he said. “The assumption is you get an earlier release because you earned it pre-trial and won’t blow it while you’re in there.”
Brandeberry is also subject to community control following release, and must pay court costs as well as $250 for lab fees.
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