Don’t argue with the judge
By Jane Beathard
Arguing with the judge didn’t pay off for a Columbus woman convicted of misuse and theft of a credit card.
Tammi N. Herschell, 36, 1769 Berrancher Drive, was sentenced to nine months in prison on Thursday for illegally running up more than $13,000 in purchases on the credit card of a family member.
She pleaded guilty to the charges in November.
Herschell appeared to resist the sentence handed down by Madison County Common Pleas Judge Robert D. Nichols. She told Nichols prison time would interfere with her schooling and academic internship.
Herschell continued to argue as deputies led her from the courtroom in handcuffs.
Moments earlier Nichols read portions of a pre-sentence investigation, outlining Herschell’s history of drug and alcohol-related convictions, dating from 1995. He also noted she consistently denied stealing and using the credit card, despite pleading guilty to the charges.
The judge denied her request for additional time to make child care arrangements.
“Your mother (already) has custody of your daughter,” Nichols said.
Assistant county prosecutor Eamon Costello said Herschell has a substance abuse problem and previously ran up $10,000 on the family member’s credit card. She was not prosecuted in that incident.
“She’s got an excuse for everything,” Costello said. “It’s time to face the consequences.”
Also on Thursday, Tereasa Petit, 51, 5085 Olive Branch Road, Plain City, was sentenced to six months in prison for selling morphine and Oxycodone to a confidential police informant on June 25-26, 2012. She pleaded guilty in November to three counts of drug trafficking.
“How you ended up in drug trafficking when you lost a son to trafficking is beyond me,” Nichols told Petit.
Blayne Petit was murdered during a 2009 drug-related home invasion in London.
Mrs. Petit said she obtained the drugs for a family member (the informant) who was in pain due to cancer.
“I was helping her out,” she said. “I was doing this through compassion for a family member.”
Nichols noted the high-dose morphine pills Mrs. Petit sold are generally used in healthcare settings. Mrs. Petit is a licensed respiratory therapist.
He also noted the drug deals took place late at night in the London Walmart parking lot. That indicated illegal profit, not compassion, was the motive behind Mrs. Petit’s actions.
In other common pleas court action on Thursday:
• Darren E. Cain Jr., 27, 167 S. Walnut St., London, was sentenced to six months in prison for trafficking cocaine on April 17-18, 2012. Cain pleaded guilty to the charges in November.
Nichols gave Cain two weeks to get his personal affairs in order, before reporting to the county sheriff’s office. The judge also said he would not oppose Cain’s early release from prison.
Earlier, defense attorney Ron Parsons requested probation for his client. Parsons noted Cain’s involvement in drug sales was minor. Cain is employed and has custody of two children.
“It’s an unusual situation,” Parsons said.
Nichols agreed that Cain’s situation and actions were unusual among local defendants in drug-related cases.
Costello noted everyone in Cain’s home, including the mother of his children, were involved in trafficking.
“Everybody in his house has already been sentenced,” Costello said.
• Richard Boltz, 22, 224 Toland St., London, was sentenced to six months in prison for selling Oxycodone to a confidential police informant on May 16 and June 6, 2012. He pleaded guilty in January.
Nichols granted a request by defense attorney Garry A. Sabol to delay Boltz’s sentence until April 15, allowing the man time to complete a high school education.
Nichols noted Boltz has no criminal record and is employed. However, the man’s involvement in drug sales poses a continuing threat to the community.