Woman recants guilty plea, but is sentenced in bath salts case anyway
A Parkersburg woman accused having bath salts during a traffic stop in Marietta was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail despite a last-minute statement rescinding her previous guilty plea.
Megan W. Skidmore, 25, of 2623 14th Ave., pleaded guilty July 24 to possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony. But Monday she told Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth that she had been rushed into the plea and had not fully understood its implications.
“Why am I being hit with two plea agreements for possession when it should have just been drug paraphernalia?” asked Skidmore.
Skidmore and another West Virginia woman, 25-year-old Ashley D. True, were arrested as a result of a traffic stop in Marietta.
Skidmore, True and a male left a Pike Street motel room that had been under surveillance by the Major Crimes Task Force because of reports of suspicious activity there. The Marietta Police Department stopped the vehicle for a traffic violation and a drug-sniffing K-9 indicated the presence of drugs in the vehicle.
Officers found white residue in a glass funnel belonging to Skidmore and white powder in a prescription bottle belonging to True.
“This is the girl who basically laughed at the task force and told them ‘You’re not going to have enough to test,'” said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Jared Erb after Monday’s sentencing.
However, the residue in Skidmore’s pipe did test positive for bath salts, resulting in the possession charge.
“It doesn’t matter how much of the drug you have. Even a small amount of residue qualifies as drug possession,” he added.
Skidmore argued that she should have only ever been charged with a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
“If I could enter a change of plea… I know I pled guilty, and I misunderstood everything. I just wish for an (appeal),” she said.
Burnworth denied her request to enter a change of plea.
“The plea was not paraphernalia. The indictment specifically refers to a schedule I controlled substance…We had a lengthy discussion during your guilty plea where you had two or three opportunities to ask any questions if you had any,” said Burnworth.
Skidmore was sentenced according to an agreed disposition. She received 32 days in the Washington County Jail with credit for two days served and was ordered to spend a year on supervised community control.
The sentence, said Burnworth, was the equivalent of a misdemeanor sentence anyway.
“The practical reality is despite the fact that you have a felony conviction, you’re serving a misdemeanor sentence. A little over a year ago, before the new sentencing regulations, there was a likelihood that you would have been sent straight to prison on this charge,” he said.
Skidmore faced a maximum 12 months on the fifth-degree felony. However, the sentencing regulations to which Burnworth referred greatly limited judges’ ability to sentence fourth- and fifth-degree felony offenders to prison.