Several plead guilty in court on Thursday
by Cris Ritchie
HAZARD – Several people pleaded guilty in Perry Circuit Court on Thursday, including one woman indicted for lying about her income in order to receive additional food stamp benefits.
Janice L. Hamblin, 27, of Lost Creek, was indicted in November 2011 on one count of fraudulently obtaining public benefits, a Class D felony punishable by a maximum of five years in prison. She was accused of reporting an incorrect household income from November 2009 and March 2010.
While in court on Thursday, Hamblin entered a guilty plea to an amended charge of making a false statement or misrepresentation to receive benefits, a misdemeanor charge. In exchange for her plea, she was sentenced to serve two years of diversion and pay restitution in the amount of $2,985 to the Kentucky State Treasury. Though her diversion was set for two years, it won’t end until that time, or until she pays restitution, whichever comes last. Hamblin agreed to repay the money at a rate of $25 per month, which would take nearly 10 years to complete if she pays the minimum each month.
Also pleading guilty on Thursday was 41-year-old Ruthena Combs, of Hazard, who was indicted by the grand jury in Perry County in February on four counts of attempting to obtain a controlled substance by fraud, a Class D felony. She was accused of attempting to fill four altered prescriptions at the Hazard CVS pharmacy in December 2011 for four different medications: Addrill, Soma, Percocet and OxyContin.
Combs entered guilty pleas to four amended counts of third-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument for a 24-month diverted sentence. Conditions of her diversion include 200 hours of community service, mandatory meetings with either Narcotics Anonymous or Lifeline, and one drug test per week for the first year.
Dusty Wise, 29, of Hyden, entered a guilty plea to one count of second-degree escape. She was indicted in May on charges that she escaped from the custody of the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard while on work release. In exchange for her plea, she will serve a total of one year in jail. She will be formally sentenced on August 16.
Crystal Smith, 26, of Hazard, pleaded guilty in two cases, one from 2011 and the second from earlier this year, but both on similar charges.
Smith was originally indicted in February on charges of first-degree possession of a controlled substance, first-degree promoting contraband, third-degree assault, third-degree possession of a controlled substance and public intoxication. On August 30, 2011, she was alleged to have illegally possessed three controlled substances, including oxycodone and methadone and attempted to introduce them into the Kentucky River Regional Jail. She was also alleged to have assaulted a jail employee.
In a second case, dating to January 28, for which Smith waived her grand jury rights and proceeded to circuit court without an indictment, she was charged with several more crimes including first and third-degree possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and first-degree promoting contraband.
Smith pleaded guilty to several charges in both cases in exchange for three years to serve in each. The sentences are to run concurrently, for a total of three years to serve in both cases.
Also pleading guilty this week was 26-year-old Trisha S. Adams of Mayking, Ky., who was indicted in November 2011 on charges of first-degree possession of a controlled substance, third-degree possession of a controlled substance and theft by unlawful taking over $500. She was alleged to have illegally possessed oxycodone and Diazepam on July 30, 2011, while also stealing merchandise from the Hazard Walmart.
Adams entered pleas to amended charges of second-degree possession and misdemeanor theft, while also pleading guilty to the third-degree possession charge in exchange for a sentence of 24 months of supervised probation.
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