Irwin woman's admission scuttles plea deal
A plea bargain hearing for an Irwin woman charged with helping to sell heroin last spring was cut short Thursday when prosecutors said a proposed jail sentence may be too short for the amount of drugs involved.
Katelyn Jones, 23, was in the process of entering a guilty plea when she disclosed to Westmoreland County Judge Al Bell that she helped to sell “760 bags” of heroin.
Bell halted the hearing and directed Assistant District Attorney Tom Grace to re-evaluate the sentence being offered in exchange for the plea.
About 30 minutes later, Grace said there was no offer on the table for Jones, who faces charges of drug dealing following her April 10 arrest.
“There was never an offer. That's just what the guidelines called for,” Grace said of the plea deal that was abandoned.
Police said they seized $7,600 worth of heroin, marijuana, a loaded .45-caliber pistol and a large amount of cash when Jones was arrested along with two teenage boys.
Grace said Jones could face a substantially longer sentence once investigators determined the exact amount of drugs involved in the case.
Her case will be listed for a possible trial, according to Public Defender Matt Schimizzi.
Jones was arrested along with two Allegheny County teenagers in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Irwin. Police said the trio had just returned from a trip to Pittsburgh to pick up the drugs.
According to court records, Jones told officers she had allowed the juveniles to use her apartment to sell heroin for five days if they paid her $50 per day.
Earlier this summer, she testified at a hearing for one of her juvenile codefendants that she met the 16-year-old Turtle Creek boy in early April and agreed to the arrangement.
While both teens stayed at her apartment, the Turtle Creek teen set up drug deals and a teen from Penn Hills met with customers in the parking lot, Jones testified.
Westmoreland County Judge Michele Bononi last month denied a prosecution request to transfer the case of the Turtle Creek teen to adult court.
A hearing for the other boy is pending.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Medical pot advocates speak up at meeting with Sen. Folmer in Export
- Latrobe law firm’s secretary pleads guilty to income tax evasion
- Marijuna, heroin arrests made in Penn Township
- Salem pair charged with animal cruelty
- Manslaughter sentence upheld for man convicted of killing Ligonier businessman
- Cell tower at Ligonier Valley Cemetery would desecrate history, scenery, opponents say
- As suicide rates rise, awareness needs to follow
- Trooper: Suspect confessed to fatal Hempfield shooting
- Jeannette man held in Greensburg window-smashing incidents
- Labor Day fast approaching
- Hempfield approves prison site subdivision