Drug defendant with 'colorful misdemeanor history' put on probation

Cary Ashby • Oct 3, 2012 at 1:26 PM

A man who attempted to sell oxymorphone to a wired confidential informant was fined $1,500 Tuesday.

Matthew A. Phillips, 29, of 68 Norwood Ave., Apt. 7A, was placed on three years of probation. Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway, who received a letter about the defendant's good work performance, didn't impose any further jail time for Phillips, who already was behind bars for 42 days.

"He enjoys his work," Huron County Public Defender David Longo said about the man's flooring job, where he has been working about 30 hours each week. "I think he's turned the corner."

Phillips told the judge he wants to keep his nose to the grindstone and keep working.

Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler credited Phillips with being a hard worker, but expressed concern that he threatened the informant, indicating he was "heavily involved" in drugs. Leffler also said Phillips mentioned the possibility of stealing some steel materials during the transaction.

On Aug. 29, 2011, Phillips met the informant on Woodlawn Avenue.

Phillips, in August, pleaded guilty to attempted trafficking in oxymorphone. In exchange for the conviction on the amended charge, Leffler agreed to dismiss one count of trafficking in alprazolam in connection with an Aug. 9, 2011 offense.

"We don't know how he got into this drug mess," Leffler told Conway.

While Phillips has no prior felony convictions, "he has a colorful misdemeanor history" and been on probation several times, court officials said.

Phillips, whose driver's license was suspended for six months, was ordered to pay $80 to the Norwalk Police Department to cover the cost of drug testing. He will continue to be subject to random drug screens.

If he violates the terms of his probation, which include substance abuse counseling, he faces one year in prison.

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