2011-09-29 / Front Page

Spriggs Sentenced In Drug-Related Cases

By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Surrounded by a support group of family and friends, a 65- year-old McConnellsburg woman was sentenced to time in a state correctional institution this week after she was arrested almost one year ago on drug possession and delivery charges.

Beverly Louise Spriggs stood before Fulton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Carol Van Horn on September 27 for sentencing proceedings held on one count each of delivery and possession of a controlled substance. The charges stem from two cases dating back to October 2010 when Spriggs sold her prescribed Oxycontin pills to a Pennsylvania State Police confidential informant from her 131 Heritage Drive home.

In presenting the case to Judge Van Horn, Fulton County District Attorney Travis Kendall pointed out the main drug problem in Fulton County surrounds the use of opiates such as Oxycontin and heroin.

“This is how kids get pills,” Kendall stated.

Defense attorney Royce Morris stated his personal view of Spriggs is that she serves as “glue” for her family, caring for both her daughter and grandchildren. Outside the realm of criminal offenses, which include a prior drug-delivery conviction in the early 1990s for cocaine, Morris added Spriggs has been a “positive force.”

Backing his statements, the defense attorney presented the court with a trio of letters commending Spriggs for her involvement and leadership in the African-American community, church and as a friend. Among those showering Spriggs with praise in written testimony were retired Pennsylvania State Police officer and county coroner Darryl Heckman and longtime friend Susan Christy.

Citing the driving distance to a state correctional institution and the need for Spriggs to remain in close contact with her family, Morris requested that Van Horn consider imposing sentence in the Franklin County Prison instead of state incarceration.

Van Horn replied by asking how does one reconcile the person praised in the letters with the one who stood before her for drug delivery. Morris summoned up the situation in one word: stupidity.

“Intelligent people do stupid things every day,” said Morris, who later added this case is punishment or retribution for the commonwealth.

“I know I was stupid when I sold those pills,” Spriggs told Van Horn. “ ... I’d appreciate it if I could do time in Franklin County Prison because of my family.”

The judge stated she could not reconcile the matter nor would Spriggs’ health issues or age be mitigating factors in the case.

“Your history on top of the current circumstances tells me you didn’t learn,” Van Horn told the defendant before sentencing her to 15 to 36 months in a state correctional institution (SCI) for delivery of a controlled substance. One count of possession of a controlled substance carried an additional jail term of three to 12 months, which will be run simultaneously with the sentence imposed for drug delivery.

The sentence imposed brought murmurs of dissent from the crowd. Van Horn informed those in attendance to step out of the courtroom if they had comment in order to allow her to fully concentrate.

Credit was granted for time previously served between October 29 and November 8, 2010. In addition, Spriggs could be eligible for parole and participation in Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive program after having completed 11-1/4 months in SCI.

Spriggs was also ordered to complete any necessary drug and alcohol treatment and undergo DNA testing. Expenses and costs to be paid include $1,650 in fines, a $25-per-month supervision fee, $190 to the Pennsylvania State Police for drug buy money and $250 for DNA testing.

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