FARMINGTON – A Starks woman was ordered Friday to serve six days in jail for mischief with a paintball gun and possessing morphine pills that belonged to her father.
Nicole Hooker, 21, successfully completed a year deferred disposition agreement and was allowed to withdraw a guilty plea to a felony, unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs, and plead guilty in Franklin County Superior Court to misdemeanor criminal mischief and unlawful possession of scheduled drug.
Assistant District Attorney Andrew Robinson said prior to sentencing that the court would hear all the good things Hooker has done since the incidents in 2005, but the court also needs to factor into sentencing that she was afforded the opportunity to avoid a felony trafficking charge.
Robinson said that when Hooker admitted to police that she had bought a paintball gun and participated in shooting paintballs at businesses and residences in July 2005, police found 37 morphine pills that she had stolen from her father. Her father had been in a work-related accident that burned his lungs and was on several pain medications. He didn’t know his daughter took the pills and sold them, Robinson said. She admitted to police that she had done it 20 to 40 times, he said.
Hooker showed complete disregard for the community and her father, and she was selling drugs in the community, Robinson said.
“This is a person who needs to go to jail,” he said.
A message needs to be sent, he said, “If you have this much disregard for the community, you need to spend time in jail,” Robinson said.
The state’s recommendation was 45 days in jail for criminal mischief and $500 fine for the drug charge.
Her attorney, Daniel Billings, said Hooker was with three young people who used bad judgment. There was a combined restitution of $654, split between them, with each paying about $164.
Hooker complied with all the conditions of bail and deferred disposition agreement, he added. She doesn’t have a previous criminal record, and there have been no problems in two years, he said.
He said some factors that are not excuses, but should be taken into account were her guilt over her father’s death a few weeks after the incident and an undiagnosed mental illness that since has been determined to be bipolar disorder.
Billings said he did not believe this situation deserved jail time.
Hooker took responsibility for her actions and spent 24 hours in jail when she was initially arrested, Billings said.
She has changed her behavior, she has changed her life, he said. He suggested she get the same penalty imposed upon the codefendants in the criminal mischief case, minus community service due to her health. Their cases were filed with restitution, and they were given a choice to either pay $200 in court fees or do 40 hours community service.
“I’m very sorry for my actions,” Hooker said. “What I did was irresponsible, plain and simple, stupid.”
She hadn’t realized how serious her father’s illness was, she said, and that she lives with what she’s done everyday.
The court believes some time in jail is warranted, Jabar said, but not 45 days.”You cannot just go and steal drugs from your parents and sell them,” Jabar said.
The sale of drugs is very serious and the court is not going to ignore that she took them, he said.
Initially she was to serve seven days in jail, but Jabar changed it to six considering she had already served 24 hours.