Butcher sentenced on crack cocaine charge

MARIETTA – Three years after his arrest, a man who pleaded guilty to the possession of crack cocaine was sentenced Friday.

Tyson J. Butcher, 23, of 16825 Joy Road, Sharpsburg, was sentenced to 42 days in the Washington County Jail and will be on probation for three years.

Walter E. Harrell, 39, of 277 North Champion Ave., Apartment H, Columbus, and Frank K. Willette, 31, of 1433 Jewett Drive, Zanesville, were also arrested on drug charges the night of the incident.

Butcher and Harrell were passengers in Willette’s car on Sept. 19, 2010 when they were pulled over by the Ohio State Highway Patrol on Ohio 550 near Warren Elementary around 3 a.m.

“When the car was pulled over the troopers said that Butcher got out of the car to stand up and a small packet of drugs fell onto the ground when he did,” said Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.

Schneider said Butcher was initially charged with one fourth-degree felony count of possession of narcotics and faced a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison with a $5,000 fine.

“At the time of the incident Butcher was on probation in Morgan County and was in violation by simply being out at 3 a.m., not to mention the drugs he was in possession of,” said Schneider.

He and Willette were formally charged on Feb. 25, 2011, according to Schneider.

During this time authorities were also having trouble locating Harrell, the third passenger in the vehicle.

“The reason Harrell was hard to locate was that he had some difficulties in Franklin County and was actually in jail there at that time,” said Schneider.

Harrell eventually ended up pleading to a first-degree misdemeanor and served 30 days in the Washington County Jail, according to records at Marietta Municipal Court.

Willette was found guilty by a jury of a fifth-degree felony for possession of drugs, said Schneider. He was sentenced to serve 10 months at the Orient Correctional Center, according to records from the Washington County Clerk of Courts.

Schneider said that Butcher’s case was scheduled for sometime in November of 2012, but it was granted a continuance until January of this year.

Schneider admitted that the delay in the case made it difficult to track down the witnesses to testify.

“Both of the officers that made the arrest had moved on from that position,” he said. “One retired and the other had transferred up north somewhere.”

Despite the trouble, the prosecution was able to come to a plea agreement with the defense.

They both agreed that Butcher could have a plea bargain to a fifth-degree felony instead of the initial fourth-degree charge.

“That drops the maximum sentence he can get for violation of parole from 18 months down to 12,” said Schneider.

Butcher began serving his 42-day jail sentence immediately after Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth addressed him Friday morning.

“You were with some bad company that night. Making better decisions will keep you out of jail in the future,” said Burnworth.