Drug dealer convicted — after brief misstep

Cary Ashby • Jul 15, 2014 at 9:07 AM

The plea deal almost didn't happen Monday.

The defendant, Benedict Avenue resident Patricia A. Papp, 58, said she didn't agree with a prosecutor's assessment of the facts. About halfway through Monday's plea hearing, she blamed the drug transaction on her son.

Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Daivia Kasper said the Norwalk Police Department set up a controlled drug buy July 8, 2012 in which Papp sold five, white oxycodone pills for $50 to a confidential informant at a Benedict Avenue residence.

After Kasper shared the facts of the case, Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway asked Papp if she agreed with what the prosecutor said. Asking the defendant such a question is standard practice during plea hearings.

"Mostly," said Papp, who is out on bond and was in a wheelchair. "I don't believe I did that."

The judge then asked Papp to clarify.

"That's my son who did it," she said.

Conway asked her if that was the case, why was she pleading guilty. Papp said she was doing so to get the case resolved.

Defense attorney Curtis Koch then spoke quietly to Papp.

"She said it wasn't her, your honor. I don't know what else to tell you," Koch told the judge.

Court broke for a short recess in which Koch spoke with his client in the conference room off the courtroom. Attorneys also discussed the matter in the judge's chambers.

"She's prepared to say the recitation of the facts by the prosecutor is correct," Koch said afterward and Papp agreed with her attorney.

The defendant pleaded guilty to an amended count of trafficking in oxycodone. Prosecutors agreed to lower the charge to a fourth-degree felony, which is punishable by six to 18 months behind bars. Conway told Papp that since she doesn't have a prior conviction, she won't face a prison term and the likely resolution is she will be placed on probation.

Papp will be sentenced Sept. 3.

She and her son, Thomas, 34, were arrested on drug-related warrants March 25 after a neighbor told Huron County sheriff's deputies the Papps lived next door. Each defendant was released on bond the day after their arrests on secret indictments.

On June 19, Thomas Papp pleaded guilty to an amended count of trafficking in oxycodone and received a 90-day jail sentence. Conway ordered the defendant to serve 30 days as soon as he was eligible for the work release program and 60 days at the discretion of the probation department. Papp's conviction is for a Sept. 9, 2012 controlled drug buy.

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