Heroin defendant avoids prison one day, sent to slammer the next

Cary Ashby • Feb 21, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Heroin defendant Dustin A. Hanson avoided prison time Wednesday. But not the next day.

Hanson, 30, of 206 S. Main St., Willard, was brought into the Huron County Courthouse in handcuffs about 9:20 a.m. Thursday. Willard Police Sgt. Shannon Chaffins and Bob McDowell, investigator with the Huron County Prosecutor's Office, escorted the defendant into the main courtroom.

The man, who appeared for a sentencing hearing the previous day, had been out on bond to handle a misdemeanor-related warrant and ordered to report to the Huron County Jail by 5 p.m. Wednesday. Under the judge's original ruling, Hanson would have spent four to six months in a locked-down facility which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education.

"The defendant did not come (to jail)," Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway said Thursday. "He was tracked down and arrested at his residence. He was in possession of drug paraphernalia."

Huron County Public Defender David Longo said Hanson didn't report to the jail due to transportation difficulties. About the drug paraphernalia, Longo said Hanson planned to throw away an allegedly old spoon and syringe at his mother's request "because his mother didn't want it in the house."

Hanson claimed he tried to get to jail Wednesday night and his girlfriend planned to bring him the next morning when the previous circumstances didn't work out.

The defendant said he was on his way to the Dumpster to throw out the paraphernalia when Chaffins arrived in his police cruiser -- just after he sat in the van.

"I was truthful with him. I told I had an old syringe and spoon," Hanson said.

"I don't believe any of it," the judge responded. "(What happened) took away all the faith in what you told me (Wednesday)."

Hanson had said he had a relapse recently because of the stress of Wednesday's sentencing hearing. He blamed the drug community in Willard, which he said "sucked me back in" so he planned to move in with his girlfriend in Shelby.

"My main concern is I need a probation officer behind me," Hanson said.

Conway had warned the defendant he would reconsider his sentencing options if he "messed up" while out on bond.

The judge had said when defendants have an extensive criminal record like Hanson's, he normally would sentence them to prison. However, Conway originally decided to place Hanson on three years of intensive probation because the defendant seemed to be truthful, it didn't appear he was involved regularly with selling drugs and had gotten a job.

Starting Jan. 7, Hanson worked for a Mansfield-based demolition company for about three weeks, but the business laid him off after finishing a job in Marion due to travel restrictions.

In early December, Hanson pleaded guilty to possession of heroin. The Willard Police Department initiated the June 25 traffic stop when the defendant was driving with a suspended license.

On Thursday, Conway sentenced Hanson to 11 months in prison and suspended his driver's license for six months.

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