Payne gets jail time for drug charge

MARIETTA – A Marietta man caught selling drugs will spend 30 days in jail before being allowed to serve the final 60 days intermittently so he can work to support his family.

“I just need a chance to show the court I’m not the same man I used to be,” said Christopher Payne, 27, of 221 Harmar St., as he read from a letter he prepared for the court.

Payne pleaded guilty Feb. 22 to trafficking in drugs, a fifth-degree felony.

Payne was caught selling cocaine and what were at the time believed to be Percocet pills to a Major Crimes Task Force informant in January 2012, said his attorney, Randall Jedlink.

He was charged with a fifth-degree felony trafficking in cocaine and a third-degree felony for the pills. However, the pills were later found to be birth control pills, and the third-degree felony was dismissed, said Jedlink.

Payne has turned a new leaf since his arrest, staying away from his former friends and focusing on supporting his family, said Jedlink.

Payne developed a drug problem after being medically discharged from the military because of a heart condition, he told the court.

“My dream of becoming a Marine was shattered. After I was discharged I couldn’t find a job to support my family,” he said, choking up at times as he read from the emotional letter.

Payne said he turned to drugs to cope with his depression and admitted to selling drugs to pay for his addiction.

He has cleaned up and found a good paying job for himself, but more so for his fiancee and their two children, Payne said.

Payne sought counseling and has been clean since his arrest in January 2012. He still attends weekly support meetings for recovering addicts, he told Lane.

He has secured a job at Pioneer Pipe and routinely passed drug tests there, said Jedlink.

Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings said the state was recommending community control sanctions and 60 days in the Washington County Jail.

Lane ruled that Payne could serve 60 days intermittently, but not until after he served 30 days straight.

Payne’s driver’s license was suspended for six months but he can apply for work privileges, said Lane.

Payne was also sentenced to three years of community control and ordered to pay $745 restitution to the Major Crimes Task Force and a $1,250 fine.