18 months for man selling LSD

A southwest Ohio man caught selling large quantities of LSD in Marietta in September was sentenced Tuesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to 18 months in prison.

Michael S. Cope II, 30, of 2006 Huntington St., Middletown, received the maximum sentence on the fourth-degree felony drug trafficking crime despite a plea for less from him and his attorney.

“I’d like to apologize…for coming to this town and committing a crime. If you could have a little leniency on me, I’d appreciate it,” Cope told Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane.

Cope and 24-year-old Vincent Christopher, of Cleveland, were present at an apartment on County House Lane when a confidential informant went there to buy marijuana from 21-year-old Dakota Morningstar.

The informant arranged to purchase approximately a pound of marijuana from Morningstar for $4,100, but it was Christopher who ultimately completed the transaction. The informant also paid Cope $1,000 for 100 doses of LSD.

When stopped that night, Christopher had another 100 doses of LSD he had reportedly purchased from Cope during the meeting.

Cope was initially indicted on two third-degree felony counts of trafficking in drugs. He pleaded guilty to a single fourth-degree felony count.

Ray Smith, Cope’s attorney, asked for a one-year prison sentence, citing the fact that drug treatment programs are typically not made available to inmates until near the end of a prison sentence.

“I want him to get into some programs sooner rather than later so he has a better chance of getting out and being a productive member of society,” said Smith.

Furthermore, prosecutors in Warren County have already indicated Cope’s guilty plea in Washington County will result in a probation violation and more prison time there.

Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings simply suggested that a prison sentence was the only appropriate option.

Cope’s criminal history is lengthy and varied, noted Lane.

“Your juvenile record is longer than most adult records,” he said as he spent several minutes reading through the list of prior convictions.

Cope’s 11 juvenile convictions included assault, domestic violence, burglary, aggravated drug trafficking and escape charges.

As an adult, the list included nearly three dozen criminal convictions, eight of which were prior felonies, said Lane.

The most serious punishment was warranted, concluded the judge, adding that Cope has a right to appeal the decision.

Lane also ordered the forfeiture of nearly $6,000 in cash that had been seized when Cope and Morningstar were arrested inside Morningstar’s residence.

Cope was given credit for 174 days served, but Lane added that it could be amended if it was determined Cope has spent time in jail in another county on the local charges.

Morningstar, who has since moved to Columbus, was sentenced in April to 90 days in jail on a fourth-degree felony count of drug trafficking and a fifth-degree felony count of drug possession.

Christopher pleaded guilty July 30 to a fourth-degree felony count of trafficking in marijuana and a fourth-degree felony count of possession of LSD. He is set to be sentenced at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 23.