Middle man in court

A former Lower Salem resident was sentenced to three years of community control and 90 days in the Washington County Jail Thursday for selling heroin and receiving stolen property.

Shawn Gill, 34, last listed address of 39504 Road Fork Road, Lower Salem, was indicted on a fourth-degree felony count of drug trafficking and a fifth-degree felony count of receiving stolen property on April 30. Most recently, Gill has moved to West Virginia.

Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings said the counts were lowered a degree during his plea.

“He pleaded to trafficking of drugs, heroin, to a fifth-degree felony and receiving stolen property, to a first-degree misdemeanor,” Rings said.

The reason the initial charge for the trafficking was a fourth-degree felony is because a drug deal was so close to Phillips Elementary School. Gill reportedly sold heroin to a confidential informant on Feb. 11, 2013.

Gill’s attorney, Eric Fowler, recommended the court just give his client community control.

“He’s admitted his involvement in the case,” said Fowler. “He’s always maintained employment and has been remorseful for his actions.”

During his sentencing, Gill addressed the court, saying he was in need of money from the drug deal, but has never actually done drugs.

“I’ve never done drugs; I needed the money and the (supplier) called me and said if I made a deal…I could have $20 out of the money,” Gill said.

“I didn’t feel comfortable handling the drugs,” he added, saying a third party did the exchange of drugs, while he took the money.

Gill said he’s made a lot of mistakes, including a felony arrest in 2010 for theft, which started with being laid off from his job and his family falling apart.

“I apologize,” he said. “I can’t take it back, but I need to make it right.”

After his recent move to West Virginia, Gill has been holding down a job at Halliburton, he said.

Washington County Common Pleas Judge Ed Lane said that he could send Gill to prison, not just the county jail.

“I actually have the ability to send you to prison today because of your felony conviction, but I’m not,” he said, instead recommending community control for three years and a 90-day jail sentence.

“You cannot go back to West Virginia until you’ve cleared the probation department,” said Lane. “If you haven’t been cleared in two months, I’ll find out why not.”

In addition, Lane ordered Gill to attend a mandatory evaluation for alcohol and drug problems.

Gill was also ordered to pay the amount of $185,000 in restitution to the Major Crimes Task Force.