Drug defendant disappointed in herself is sent to prison

Cary Ashby • Jun 5, 2014 at 9:21 AM

Drug defendant Minniebelle A. Yates gave her probation officer a long hug after hearing she was going to prison for one year.

Due to the time she has been behind bars so far, Yates, 32, will have about four months to serve for violating her probation. At Wednesday's hearing, the recent New London woman admitted to violating her curfew May 10 and on the next day, testing positive for three drugs at the Huron County Jail.

"This is her second violation of probation," said Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Daivia Kasper, who recommended a 14-month prison term for Yates.

"She continues to suffer from drug abuse and drug addiction. ... She is no longer amenable to community control sanctions," Kasper added.

Yates said she's disappointed in herself and the way she's disappointed so many other people. She said she should be strong enough to stay off drugs, but has to assert herself.

"I don't want to be kicked off probation. I don't want to go to prison," Yates said.

Her underlying conviction is theft of drugs for a June 19, 2012 incident involving a friend. As part of a plea deal in mid-January 2013, prosecutors dismissed a separate charge of safecracking.

Yates successfully completed a community-based corrections facility on Oct. 22, 2013. Defendants spend four to six months in a CBCF, a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education.

"I was really happy when I came out of the CBCF. It's a really good program; I'd recommend it to anyone," Yates said Wednesday.

Less than a month after leaving the CBCF, Yates was sanctioned for failing to report her contact with law enforcement and associating with a known felon, probation officer Andrea Cooke told the court.

Huron County Public Defender David Longo said Yates derived a lot of benefit from her time in the CBCF, but blamed part of her problems on "unresolved grief" since several of her loved ones have died. One of the defendant's sisters died from cancer recently.

"She had one sister that was murdered," Longo said.

Also, the public defender said Yates took the death of a man whom she'd been dating and was hit and killed by a train very hard. The man apparently was a felon, but Yates' attorney said his client didn't know that at first. Longo also said Yates demanded to see the victim afterward, but given his injuries, it probably wasn't a very good idea.

"She went downhill from there," Longo added.

The defendant underwent counseling and then had a drug-related relapse.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway told Yates he hopes the prison term will be "a wake-up call."

"You've already had the CBCF treatment. You know what you have to do," he said.

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