A drug dealer who bought heroin near an infant with a long history of juvenile and adult offenses was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in prison.
Brooke A. Turner, 28, of 61 Spino Court, pleaded guilty in late November to one count of trafficking in heroin. The March 11 offense involved a controlled drug purchase coordinated by the Norwalk Police Department.
Huron County Public Defender David Longo said Turner wasn't dealing drugs for profit.
"She was just supporting her own habit," he said.
"She's had this problem since she's been a teenager. She's now 28," Longo said. "She desires further treatment."
Authorities have said the buy happened on West Chestnut Street in the vicinity of an 18-month-old child. Detective Sgt. Jim Fulton, after Turner pleaded guilty, said the transaction was set up without the knowledge that a child would be there.
"We don't let informants take their children on drug buys. There was a child present at the residence during the buy, but it wasn't the informant's," Detective Sgt. Seth Fry also said in November.
While Turner said it had been many years since she last was in trouble, she had been to prison twice beforehand. She also spent two days in a community-based corrections facility (CBCF), a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education, when she was 18.
"Sending me back to prison would make me more of a bitter person. It doesn't help anybody," Turner told Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway.
As she choked up for a moment, Turner said her heart broke as she spoke to her 4-year-old daughter on the phone recently and promised she would return at some point.
Longo said his client "showed some insight" when probation officers interviewed her for her presentence investigation.
"I don't want to be known as a junkie mom," Longo said, quoting her statement.
If Turner doesn't get a handle on her addiction, Longo said she might not able to see her daughter grow up.
"At this point you need to take responsibility for yourself. It needed to happen before today," Conway told Turner.
The judge also said what she did is helping spread the heroin problem through Huron County.
"Other people are getting addicted to heroin," Conway said.
After the hearing, Turner's mother and the defendant's boyfriend hugged as the mother cried.
"I'll miss her, too," Turner's boyfriend told her.
The boyfriend later told the Reflector he "almost died" while he was using heroin.
"That's the only reason I stopped doing it," said the young man, who has been dating Turner for several months, but has known her for many years.
"I think she deserved a chance at a CBCF. I don't think she got the opportunity to get some help," the boyfriend said.
Turner could be released from prison after serving 80 percent of her sentence as long as she participates in a substance abuse treatment program. The court ordered her to pay $120 in restitution to Norwalk police for the cost of drug testing.