2012-07-12 / Front Page

Woman Sentenced In Heroin Delivery

Granted credit for time spent in drug rehab
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz
STAFF WRITER

Having been discharged from drug rehabilitation Friday, a Mc- Connellsburg woman appeared before Senior Judge John R. Walker this week to answer to allegations of delivery of a controlled substance.

Having previously entered a guilty plea in mid-March to the delivery of heroin, defense attorney Philip Harper told the court 24-year-old Echo Renee Sipes participated in inpatient rehab at Pyramid Health Care located in Altoona between April 17 and July 6. It was asked if Sipes could receive credit for the 80 days she logged at the facility.

Fulton County District Attorney Travis Kendall noted the practice of giving credit had been previously used in driving-underthe influence cases but not for drug-related incidents. He added he would not oppose the matter if the court decided to grant the defense’s wish.

Judge Walker initially informed attorney Harper that Sipes would have to accept the plea agreement as previously agreed to or withdraw her plea. “Once you modify it, it’s not a plea agreement anymore,” said Walker, who would later state if defendants have attempted to address their problem they should be given some type of credit. He eventually agreed to 40 days credit.

“I feel in the 80 days I’ve changed so much through the program,” Sipes said in her own defense. “If I go to jail, it’ll ruin me. I’ve worked so hard to get where I am.”

“You should have thought about that before you sold drugs,” the judge responded. “ ... It’s water over the dam ... if you do the crime, you do the time.”

Sipes was charged by an undercover officer from the Pennsylvania State Police, Hollidaysburg substation on October 18, 2011, with two counts of delivery and one count of possession. The charges stem from an alleged incident that occurred outside Sipes’ 13 Hillside Estates, Mc- Connellsburg, residence on January 28, 2011.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed through Magisterial District Judge Wendy Mellott, the officer and a confidential informant travelled to Sipes’ home at 1:05 p.m. Sipes allegedly handed the informant two paper wraps of heroin and two blue Percocet tablets, police said. A total of $100 in buy money was exchanged.

At the conclusion of the sentencing proceeding on Tuesday, July 10, Sipes was ordered to complete three years of Intermediate Punishment. The sentence will get under way with three months incarceration in the Franklin County Prison minus the 40 days credit. She will be elients, gible for work release through the jail.

Walker also ordered Sipes to complete 50 hours of community service and pay a $300 fine; $100 restitution to the Pennsylvania State Police for drug buy money; $176 in lab user fees; a $150 Central Booking fee; and a $25-permonth supervision fee.

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