Former teacher sentenced for smuggling heroin into jail
Before she heads to a state rehabilitation and correctional facility Monday, a former area middle school teacher will spend the weekend in the Washington County Jail-where 10 months earlier she was caught trying to sneak heroin into the facility in a body cavity.
Alexandra Lemley, 28, now of Hilliard, was sentenced Friday in Washington County Common Pleas Court on a third-degree felony count of illegal conveyance of prohibited items onto the grounds of a specified government facility.
The illegal conveyance charge was the culmination of Lemley’s March 13 arrest in Monroe County, where she and three others were allegedly caught transporting crack cocaine, oxycodone pills and heroin into the area. Lemley was brought to the Washington County Jail because Monroe County does not have a jail facility for women.
Lemley, who was living in New Matamoras and working as a teacher in Pleasants County, W.Va. at the time, also pleaded guilty to drug charges in Monroe County Common Pleas Court. Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane sentenced Lemley to serve six months in the Eastern Ohio Correctional Center (EOCC) as part of a joint sentencing agreement with Monroe County, he said.
Lemley faced up to three years in prison on the illegal conveyance charge.
“What I had said is that since she’s successfully completed two drug treatment programs, I would allow her to (serve her sentence in the EOCC) if Monroe County sentenced her to that,” said Lane. “They did sentence her, and she’s to report Monday.”
Monroe County Common Pleas Court had not ordered Lemley remain incarcerated up to that time, and Lemley’s attorney Rolf Baumgartel argued that Lane should not order her into jail either.
“Allow her to self-report on Monday. All (putting her in jail) does is create an inconvenience on others,” said Baumgartel.
The EOCC requires inmates to provide their own clothing and toiletries, which Lemley will not be able to put together if she is in jail here, he said.
Baumgartel acknowledged that rehabilitation programs like those offered at the EOCC are usually ordered in conjuncture with jail time, but pointed out that Lemley had already served around three months jail time for the incident as a whole.
Lane countered that the jail time had counted toward the initial drug possession charge in Monroe County, but Lemley could not get double credit for that time on the conveyance charge.
“I had planned on putting her in jail today and having our sheriff take her,” said Lane.
Lane also sentenced Lemley to five years of community control. Lemley will be supervised in Franklin County, where she lives, but will be subject to the rules set by Lane and Monroe County Common Pleas Court Judge Julie Selmon.
“That’s one of the reasons I want you in jail, so one of our officers can go over (community control rules) with you at the jail,” said Lane.
He began to order Lemley to pay a fine but found she was no longer employed.
She was suspended from her job as a middle/junior high school teacher in the Pleasants County school system shortly after her arrest and later resigned retroactively to the day before the incident. Lemley had later been employed in Franklin County, but told Lane she no longer had that job.
Two of the other three individuals traveling with Lemley have pleaded guilty to drug-related charges in Monroe County.
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.
Travis Poole, 28, of 311 Main St., New Matamoras, pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree felony count of drug possession and is awaiting sentencing.
The third, Michael Armstrong, 33, also of 28295 State Route 26, has yet to plead to charges in relation to the case. Monroe County Prosecutor James Peters had said at the time of Lemley’s plea in November that Armstrong was expected to plead guilty to drug charges. Peters did not return a call Friday seeking comment.