Ex-teacher pleads guilty to drug charge

A former Pleasants County teacher pleaded guilty Wednesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to hiding heroin in a body cavity when she was processed into the Washington County Jail in March.

Alexandra Lemley, 28, was living in New Matamoras when she and three others were caught transporting heroin, crack, cocaine and oxycodone pills to the area from Columbus on March 13.

“She was arrested in Monroe County and apparently there’s not a facility there to house women so she was transferred here to Washington County,” said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Jared Erb.

In addition to the heroin seized from the vehicle, Lemley admitted Wednesday to trying to sneak another 1.8 grams of heroin inside the jail. The heroin was hidden in a body cavity and discovered by a female corrections officer during a search, said Erb.

Lemley was indefinitely suspended without pay from her job as a middle/junior high teacher in the Pleasants County school system approximately two weeks after her arrest. Lemley later resigned, retroactive to March 12, said Donna Barksdale, assistant superintendent for the school system.

Lemley was indicted in June for a fourth-degree felony count of possession of drugs, a third-degree felony count of illegal conveyance of prohibited items onto the grounds of a specified government facility and a third-degree felony count of tampering with evidence.

In exchange for her plea to the illegal conveyance charge, the remaining two charges were dismissed.

However, Lemley pleaded guilty to additional charges in Monroe County stemming from the initial traffic stop, said Baumgartel.

Lemley faces up to three years in prison on the third-degree felony conveyance charge. However, the prosecution intends to recommend working out a joint sentencing agreement with Monroe County, said Erb. The plan is to send Lemley to the Eastern Ohio Correction Center-a substance abuse focused facility-as soon as possible, he said.

Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane asked Lemley if she was an addict when she committed the crime, to which she answered, “Yes sir.”

“How long have you been an addict?” Lane asked.

“Probably five years,” she responded.

Lane agreed he would be in favor of a joint sentence at the EOCC, citing Lemley’s lack of a prior record and the fact that she has been in counseling for six months, most recently in Franklin County where she is now living, said Baumgartel.

Lemley has also passed at least six drug tests in that time, added Baumgartel.

The other three individuals traveling with Lemley have either pleaded guilty or are expected to plead guilty to drug-related charges in Monroe County, said Monroe County Prosecutor James Peters.

Brianne Nester, 29, of 28295 State Route 26, New Matamoras, pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree felony possession of heroin charge and a fifth-degree felony possession of cocaine charge and was sentenced to treatment in lieu of sentencing, said Peters.

Travis Poole, 28, of 311 Main St., New Matamoras, pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree felony count of drug possession and is awaiting sentencing.

Michael Armstrong, 33, also of 28295 State Route 26, is expected to plead guilty to similar charges, said Peters.