90 days for drug possession, sale

A former Marietta woman was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years of community control Friday after pleading guilty to drug possession and trafficking drugs out of her father’s apartment.

Dakota Morningstar, 21, admitted to selling nearly a pound of marijuana and possessing LSD found during a controlled drug buy at 1205 County House Lane Apt. A on Sept. 11.

After apologizing to the court as well as to her father, Washington County Common Pleas Judge Ed Lane handed down the sentence for the fourth-degree felony count of drug trafficking and the fifth-degree felony count of drug possession in addition to a $1,250 fine.

Morningstar’s attorney, Dennis Sipe, noted that the defendant had taken several steps to improve her situation and stay out of trouble.

“She has already scheduled counseling, she has found employment and she has found an apartment in Columbus away from her companions,” Sipe said. “All these things were done to get away from these influences.”

The Major Crimes Task Force arrested Morningstar and two male companions after a confidential informant named her as a supplier and set up a drug transaction to purchase the marijuana for $4,100. There, the informant learned and reported that Morningstar also was in possession of LSD.

“I just want to apologize to you and to my dad,” Morningstar said in court Friday. “I’m trying to get away from the things in my life that caused me to do this, and now I’m going to school, getting counseling and I’ve been trying to take care of my dad.”

Sipe noted that after recently moving to Columbus, Morningstar enrolled in online classes at Washington State Community College so she could receive an education.

“She has kept in touch with me and done everything I have recommended to her, and I think she will be a good candidate for community control,” he said.

With no prior record, making her ineligible for a prison sentence, Morningstar will be remanded to the Washington County Jail for 90 days before entering into three years of community control.

“I could scream, yell and tattoo it onto your arm, but if you violate any of the requirements it is my intention to send you to prison,” Lane said.

In exchange for her guilty plea, Morningstar will be not charged with any drug-related offenses that occurred before the Sept. 11 incident.

The other two men, Vincent M. Christopher, 24, of 3101 Gale Road, Willoughby, and Michael S. Cope II, 30, of 2006 Huntington St., Middletown, are both awaiting trial, according to Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.

Morningstar also agreed to forfeit the $5,995 found in the home when police executed a search warrant.

In addition to the forfeiture and the fine, Morningstar was permitted to pay off court fees by performing community service if she chooses,

She will also have to forfeit her driver’s license for six months and participate in the Thinking for a Change program.

“Good luck, and I hope everything works out for you,” Lane said.