Three sentenced, two OVI cases, one drug possession

By Dean Wright -

GALLIPOLIS — Three were recently sentenced in the Gallia County Court of Common Pleas for the individual and respective crimes of two felony OVI crimes and one case of cocaine possession.

Tammy Bonecutter, 48, of Gallipolis, was convicted of operating a vehicle under the influence, a felony of the third-degree, after having previously been convicted of OVI crimes six previous times. According to information shared by the Gallia Prosecutor’s Office, Bonecutter had previous misdemeanor convictions in 1996, 1998 and two in 1999. She had a felony conviction in 2003 and another in 2013. She has been sentenced to two years in a state facility and after will be placed on community control. Bonecutter received two years as part of a specification attached to her charge. Ohio State Patrol Trooper Charles Fourspring served as the investigating officer of the most recent incident. Bonecutter was pulled over June 18, 2017 and reportedly blew .198 on a BAC measuring machine.

Allen Burke, 40, of Bidwell, was sentenced to prison for one year for fourth-degree felony OVI for a traffic stop on December 13, 2016. Burke had been convicted of six previous OVIs. Burke reportedly blew .208 on a BAC measuring device. Burke also received a specification as part of his charge. According to Gallia Assistant Prosecutor Jeremy Fisher, Burke’s previous incidents occurred in the 90s. Gallipolis Police Patrolman Gary Waldron served as the investigating officer of the most recent incident.

Antwan Harrison, 41, of Columbus, was sentenced to five years in a state facility for the trafficking 308 grams of cocaine after being pulled over September 18, 2012. According Fisher, Harrison served as the passenger of the vehicle while a woman was driving. The pair were headed to West Virginia. The pair were traveling eastbound on US 35 before being pulled over by OSP Trooper Sean McLaughlin.

“During a traffic stop there they get a canine unit there that indicated drugs,” said Fisher. “Ultimately they find 300 grams of cocaine, which is pretty significant, under the passenger seat where Antwan is sitting. At first, he denies knowledge of it and then says maybe it’s marijuana … He finally says they were taking it to West Virginia. (The woman driver) denied any knowledge of the (drugs) at the time. They both had clean records at the time they were picked up.”

“Ultimately, he ends up claiming it,” said Fisher. “At sentencing, he takes the approach that he was basically duped into that. She told him to take it because he didn’t have a record and unbeknownst to him he did not know how much was there and the gravity of the situation…I think he became aware (he was hiding drugs) at the time of the stop.”

“The moral of the story is that these people are making decisions that are life altering when they decide to get into a vehicle and travel, whether they’re just the carrier or whether they’re the dealer,” said Gallia Prosecutor Jason Holdren. “The law is the same. You’ve got that amount of drugs and you’re taking it somewhere, you will be held accountable.”

According to Holdren, Harrison lived in Columbus while holding a job and turned himself in upon finding out there was a warrant pending for his arrest. If found with 100 grams of cocaine, an individual can be considered a major drug offender, if convicted, and receive 11 years automatically. Harrison pleaded guilty to a plea deal of first-degree felony cocaine possession.

“It didn’t seem equitable to give somebody an 11-year sentence after the state had dropped the ball in attempting to pick him up for years,” said Holdren. “He was living a law-abiding life and had not been in any trouble and the state had the (defendant) address during that five year period. That is one key reason why we make indictments public. We are seeing a lot of people turn themselves in on cases. It helps that individual when it comes to bond. If you’re willing to turn yourself in and address those issues on your own, that’s a lot different than being on the run and law enforcement having to find you.”

Holdren said some indictments may remain secret depending on the nature of a case but the majority of indictments his office releases were for things such as Harrison’s situation.

“I cannot speak for others but when my office became aware of the pending situation,” said Holdren about the period of time between indictment and sentencing,”we moved to resolve it quickly.”

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright