MARIETTA - A Byesville woman went from giggles to tears as she received the maximum possible penalty in Washington County Common Pleas Court Wednesday for her role in trafficking drugs in the county.
Erica R. Kohl, 32, of 9540 Indian Lake Road, Byesville, was sentenced to six months in the Washington County Jail, five years of community control sanctions and a five-year driver's license suspension on a fourth-degree felony charge of trafficking in drugs.
Kohl, along with Jonathan Primack, 28, of the same address, is accused of selling 20 Oxycodone tablets to an undercover task force agent at the Adult Mart in Macksburg in March. Kohl was also charged with selling another 20 pills at the same location in April.
Photo by Jasmine Rogers
Seated with her attorney, Shawna Landaker, left, Erica Kohl, right, was sentenced to six months in the Washington County Jail and five years of community control for a fourth-degree felony charge of trafficking in drugs.
Kohl was initially charged with two third-degree counts of aggravated trafficking in drugs, but pleaded on Oct. 23 to a single lesser charge of fourth-degree felony trafficking in drugs.
Primack was indicted in July on one count of aggravated trafficking in drugs, a third-degree felony. There is a warrant out for his arrest.
"They took the money and they were on their way to Cleveland to buy more drugs. She is a drug trafficker," said Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane.
Kohl got off to a rough start when she was more than a half hour late for her 8 a.m. sentencing.
Lane issued a warrant for Kohl's arrest around 8:16 a.m. but the warrant had not been signed by the time Kohl appeared at 8:40 a.m.
She also failed to provide the court with mandated documents regarding drug and alcohol assessment and her court-ordered counseling.
"I am concerned the sentencing started late because of the fact that the defendant was not here. Now apparently we do not have an evaluation that the court ordered," said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Alison Cauthorn.
Kohl's attorney, public defender Shawna Landaker, assured Lane that her client had been keeping up with her drug and alcohol counseling.
"How do I know that?" asked Lane.
"I mean I guess we could call and get verification," offered Landaker.
"She is not going to be the tail that wags this dog," Lane retorted.
During a lengthy, rambling statement to the court, during which Kohl laughed several times, she said she could not send the documents because no one returned her calls requesting a fax number for Lane's office.
"I really tried, you know, getting these letters to you, because I wanted you to know, that you know, I was pulling my end," she said before letting out a giggle.
Kohl's behavior in court made is apparent that she was not willing to deal with her drug addiction, said Lane.
"You are willing to make excuses and laugh and giggle in here and smile. I do not think you're willing to deal with it," he said just prior to handing down his sentence.
Recent changes in the Ohio Revised Code prevent judges from issuing prison sentences on most fourth- and fifth-degree felony charges, as was the case with Kohl.
Still, Kohl's smiles and laughs quickly faded to tears and distress as the sentence was handed down.
Kohl's six-month county jail sentence and five years of community control were the maximum allowable by law, said Lane.
If Kohl commits any other infractions or violates any conditions of her community control sanctions, including missing a single drug and alcohol counseling appointment, Lane said he would send her to prison for the maximum 18 months.
"Ms. Kohl, you haven't done one single thing I asked of you, and you've got every sorry excuse in the book," he said.
Kohl attempted to interrupt Lane at least three times during sentencing, but was hushed by Landaker and Lane.
"Ma'am, I've listened to you...It's over," said Lane before recessing.