No jail time for teen mom sorry for 'heckuva scene' at buffet

Cary Ashby • Feb 9, 2013 at 12:13 AM

The teenager and new mom, who has been convicted of attacking a paramedic and stealing a relative's credit card, proclaimed she's "happy" to be clean and sober.

"I'd like to get my GED," defendant Lisa M. Barnett said in court Tuesday.

In December, the former Norwalk resident pleaded guilty to one felony count each of assaulting a paramedic and receiving stolen property. The receiving stolen property incident happened Sept. 11.

The assault happened Sept. 27 at Brian Buffet, a Plank Road restaurant where Barnett, 19, now of Sandusky, had a heroin overdose.

"This was a heckuva scene at the Brian Buffet. The young lady was in great distress, doing more heroin than she should," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said at Tuesday's sentencing hearing.

"The people who were there reported it was worse than what was in the police report," he told the judge.

Prosecutors earlier said Barnett "was crying and screaming and yelling about having Hepatitis C," went into the bathroom, "shot herself full of heroin" and then "was throwing up all over herself." A witness who works near the restaurant said Barnett was topless as she ran around the parking lot before North Central EMS arrived.

"I'm sorry for what I did; I really am," Barnett said Tuesday.

While paramedics attempted to treat her, Barnett scratched and bit a female medical worker. Huron County Public Defender David Longo has said the bite didn't penetrate the victim's skin.

Since being released from the Huron County Jail on house arrest after her Dec. 20 guilty plea, Barnett has tested clean during random drug screens, Longo said. He requested Barnett be required to do an intense outpatient program as part of intensive probation.

Leffler said Barnett had a 10 heroin balloons-per-day habit that went back as much as two years. He recommended Barnett spend four to six months in a community-based corrections facility so she could continue to "make strides" in addressing her addiction. A CBCF is a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education.

Barnett told the court she hadn't been tested for Hepatitis C since the assault. It's unknown if she was positive before she gave birth. Barnett's aunt is taking care of her 2-year-old girl in Sandusky.

As part of her three years of intense probation, Barnett must work toward her GED and pay almost $278 in restitution to the receiving stolen property victim. She's also prohibited from having any association with her one-time boyfriend.

Citing the importance of Barnett being with her daughter and proving she can be sober, Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway ordered Barnett to undergo substance abuse counseling. He didn't impose any jail time.

"I'm giving you a lot of credit," said Conway, who ruled Barnett faces 18 months in prison if she violates her probation.

The judge ordered her to be screened for the Benchmark program, which he said he found was useful for drug defendants when he was an Erie County assistant prosecutor. Barnett could be screened for a CBCF if she isn't accepted.

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