2011-09-22 / Local & State

DeShong Given Credit For Time Served

By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Touted as a “diamond in the rough” by a judge of the Fulton County Court of Common Pleas, a Harrisonville man was granted credit for time served in the Franklin County Prison and at an in-patient facility immediately following his arrest this summer on drug delivery charges.

Twenty-two-year-old Paul Shane DeShong stood before Judge Richard J. Wash Tuesday for sentencing in connection with a guilty plea to one count each of delivery and possession of a controlled substance. DeShong, of 1578 Forrestdale Road, was arrested on June 21 following two controlled purchases of heroin that occurred at a McConnellsburg home in January and February.

Fulton County District Attorney Travis Kendall pointed out an area that deserved special attention in this case is the ongoing heroin and opiate pill problem in Fulton County at this time.

“It’s destroying lives in this community,” stated Kendall, who added he was appreciative of DeShong’s efforts to obtain employment and seek treatment for drug use.

Following up on Kendall’s statements to the court, defense attorney Dwight Harvey stated sending DeShong to prison wouldn’t serve the defendant or the community.

“Heroin was destroying Mr. DeShong’s life,” stated Harvey. “ ... He committed a crime, but he is also a victim.”

Harvey noted immediately prior to his arrest this summer, DeShong reportedly recognized his problem with heroin and attempted to enter a rehab facility. He entered a facility following his release from prison and has since obtained employment at Manitowoc after being on a waiting list for around two years, Harvey said of his client.

“We don’t discount the seriousness of the charges,” Harvey said. “ ... He’s trying to build something more positive.”

Speaking on his own behalf, DeShong stated approximately one year ago he started “hanging out with the wrong people.” He indicated he didn’t have a job and did some things that were wrong in order to support his child and his child’s mother.

Since his arrest, he has logged over a month at Manitowoc inspecting cranes and serves as a “peer advocate” for individuals who are “down or struggling.”

Given the “substantial presentation” to the court Tuesday, Judge Walsh ordered DeShong to participate in the Intermediate Punishment program for 24 months, which would include 40 days work release at the Franklin County Prison, in connection with delivery of a controlled substance. DeShong was granted credit for time served in the Franklin County Prison between June 21 and July 19 as well as one-day credit for every two days spent in an in-patient facility between July 4 and August 13. Credit for in-patient rehab totalled 12 days.

Walsh stated there would be nothing to be gained by giving DeShong an additional jail sentence. He said the court would not shed tears over him being a victim. The judge, however, did recognize the fact he was trying to help himself, which carried an extraordinary amount of weight.

In ordering 60 hours of community service, the judge urged DeShong to speak with children and children’s groups about his involvement with drugs in the hope he could “scare a few kids straight.”

“You’re a diamond in the rough,” Walsh concluded.

DeShong will pay a $500 fine to Fulton County; $90 to the Pennsylvania State Police for drug buy money; $113 for lab user fees; a $25-per-month supervision fee; and $250 for DNA testing.

On one count of possession of a controlled substance, DeShong will complete six months probation and pay $200 to the Fulton County Law Library; $150 to the state police for drug buy money, $113 in lab user fees; and a $25 monthly supervision fee.

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