LISBON - An East Palestine mother of five children was sentenced in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Thursday to nine months in prison for her part in a methamphetamines making operation in New Waterford.
Jill R. Fulton, 38, West Martin Street, pleaded guilty in August to complicity to the illegal assembly of drugs. According to her defense attorney, Doug King, her charges involved her need for taking meth herself. In order to get meth, she took money given to her by co-defendants and purchased pseudoephedrine pills with it.
"She was a user," King said, "She was addicted and in order to use she had to buy pseudoephedrine. She was driven by her need to use drugs. She has never been in trouble before."
Michelle Fookes, who works for the Columbiana County Department of Jobs of Family Services testified on Fulton's behalf. While Fookes admitted Fulton did temporarily loose her children, she also credited her with doing everything she needed to do to get them back. Fulton reportedly got better housing, went to counseling, got employment, stayed home with her children at night and made certain they began regularly attending school and getting involved in extracurricular activities.
"She has worked harder than most of the people I have seen in my 20-some years with the Columbiana County legal system," King said of her progress.
"I've done everything I possibly could to get my life back on track," Fulton said before sentencing. "My older three kids, their dad is deceased. I'm the only one they have who cares for them."
While Judge Scott Washam complemented her on her progress, he chose a sentence midway between the 18-month prison sentence recommendation of Assistant County Prosecutor Ryan Weikart and King's request for probation.
"You have five children and those children were left so you could participate in this adventure," Washam said. "The presentencing report said there were days at a time they were left to fend for themselves."
Washam also denied her request to self-report to the jail on Friday so she could get her children settled somewhere after school on Thursday.
Co-defendants in the case are Bradley Carpenter, as well as Heidi and Daniel Todd. Carpenter, 29, Creek Road, New Waterford, was sentenced to five years in prison, while Daniel Todd, 34, Silliman Street, New Waterford, is scheduled for sentencing next week, both on several meth manufacturing-related charges. Heidi Todd, 34, Silliman Street, New Waterford, has a jury trial scheduled in November for charges related to the manufacturing of meth.
According to Weikart, the group was manufacturing meth in the Silliman Street home on Feb. 21, with Heidi Todd's children in the house.