Drug thief avoids jail time, says 'crime of opportunity' was an ignorant thing to do

Aunt of the late Jesika L. Skelton says she 'should have known better.'
Cary Ashby
Apr 25, 2013


The defendant said stealing hydrocodone from the pharmacy where she worked was an ignorant thing to do -- especially since her niece died of a drug overdose.

"This is not something I would normally do," Norma J. Zapata said at Wednesday's sentencing hearing in Huron County Common Pleas Court. "I should have known better and not gone down that route."

Judge Jim Conway agreed with her assessment.

"You don't know whose hands those drugs will get in. We can't have that," Conway said.

Zapata's niece, Norwalk resident Jesika L. Skelton, 20, died March 11, 2012 after a drug overdose related to a drug-trafficking ring at the Huron County Jail. Several women went to prison for their crimes related to the circumstances.

Last month, Zapata, 30, of 230 Whittlesey Ave., Lot 10, pleaded guilty to theft of hydrocodone for the Aug. 15 incident. It is her first felony conviction. Defense attorney T. Douglas Clifford said the theft was "a crime of opportunity" for Zapata to make money and help support her two children and her family.

When Zapata was working at Rite Aid, store officials determined they were missing some drugs, prosecutors said. Internal security workers performed an audit and analyzed video surveillance footage.

When police recovered one of the bottles, there were pills missing.

"She's presently working; that's a good sign. Perhaps the court could impose some discretionary jail time," Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff told the judge.

And that's exactly what Conway did.

Zapata faces 60 days in jail that her probation officer can impose at his or her discretion. She was fined $250 and must pay $279 in restitution to Rite Aid.

If Zapata violates her three years of probation, which includes random drug screens, she faces 18 months in prison.



I'm not trying to be an English teacher, but does Norwalk even have any? I have never seen such atrocious use of grammar and spelling as I do in the comment section of The Norwalk Reflector.

I can actually picture some of my English teachers cringing with the lack of syntax and no control. Is it intentional?


I definitely agree with you. I think that John1128 should consider taking a refresher on the various spellings of words(waist/waste, there/their/they're)and which context they should be used in. He should also find someone to install a spellcheck program on his computer

William Jeffers...

There are so many "drug" crimes and it would be too costly to give them all the proper jail time. What's ironic is that the niece was in jail and still got drugs??


she is working??? where? how did she get a job? people who put in their applications for employment do not get hired because they do not have a work history because they stopped working to raise their children but someone who steals drugs gets hired somehwere... what is wrong with this picture??????????????????

swiss family

uuummmmmm she stole the drugs AFTER she got hired.....not before..

Really are you ...

Places who hire felons get tax breaks. I heard that is one of the reasons why Janesville bought that plant in Michigan. Sucks, veterans and felons in the same category. I get veterans preference points when applying for a job, along with some tax breaks. Companies receive tax breaks for hiring felons also. So if I have to go job hunting again, I need to go commit a felony somewhere? Then once a company hires me they will get a double tax break. Jobs for returning veterans to the civilian world, "I got your 6." Also, felons returning to society after they have been convicted, "I got your 6." REALLY! REALLY! REALLY!


What's your answer? Don't allow them to work for the rest of their life? Force them to live off the system that so many bash constantly? Maybe a death sentence for stealing a handful of pills?


Send them to isolation.. Not even a prison just isolation.

Really are you ...

Well I wouldn't let them carry the hire me I am a felon and you will also receive a tax break or bigger tax break tag. Make life extremely rough on them. Then maybe these people will think twice about what they are doing and there won't be all of this BS going on around here. Everything from Norwalk woman punched in face while pumping gas to Teen 'fighting for his life' after crowbar attack is BS, those people that are doing these things. Well the back of their hands will probably be turning red from the slaps of justice they will receive, and repeat. By all means give them tax breaks. Have them Ask LESKO find a government grant or loan and start a business. There are probably all kinds of grants and loans available, depending what type of crimes you commit. The longer your list, the more you have to choose from.


There is a thing called morals....


...says the person calling themselves 'cornholio.'


There's a difference between humor and morality.


don't try and explain the difference to betrump. It literally would be like talking to Bevis and Buthead (had to spell different...dang profanity filter).


Lol you have a point.


The ultimate troll.


Well typical Norwalk reflector....they didnt have to say that she was her aunt or even mention her name.


No time at all? I think if you really want to get your point across that this crap doesn't fly give her some time! She doesn't have any other felony convictions so she has been doing it for who knows how long and finally got caught. Our justice system is horrible and failing. Not even thirty days? I support my kids too with my job not things that I steal from there.


If you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all
sometimes u do things to provide...NOT saying it was right. but u yourself said you've made mistakes.. I know her personally & shes a caring & loving person..


I would do Anything I had to to provide for my children....BUT NOT STEAL or DEAL DRUGS. WHY risk being sent to prison and NOT see them grow up. I would eat at a soup kitchen, I would collect cans for money, deliver newspapers, what ever I could to make money. Just because you are trying to provide for your family does NOT give you the right to steal from some else! Never mind she was DEALING the drugs she stole. And yes my momma taught me "if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all" she also taught me NOT to STEAL or do drugs!


Remind me who thinks this is a 'Christian Nation.' There sure are a lot of judgmental people out there.


This from the person who has to pick on 'cornholio'.


Christians are the WORST for judging others.


you just judged christians. Think before you post. You are now a hypocrite. Lol, the people on this site, I swear I don't know how a handful of you actual get through a normal day without someone holding your hands.


I never said I was a Christian. I am NOT. I live by MY own rules, thoughts, ideas and beliefs. I am not a Christian, I am not a druggie, I am not a thief, and I am not a drug dealer.


...says the ultimate hypocrite.

Cliff Cannon

@ lady dye_ 5 : Got agree with you about the --- WORST---- " judges ". Weird thing is all religions have this in common : A central charismatic person to worship, a code of conduct ( 10 commandments,etc ) and oFFers a reward to the believer ----heavenly peace.

What separates Christianity from any other religion or philosophy is this statement from Jesus himself : " Love thy enemy " Of course, almost no one does this.

Sickening isn't it ? THE thing that separates Christianity from other religions is almost universally ignored. ( Particularly when Jesus himself said it )

Which leaves us with all these unelected hypocritical " Judges " you refer to, that so gross us out.


Christianity has nothing to do with it. Stop throwing the religion card in. Why not say she did it because she Mexican or black or female or.... she did it because she's a thief and drug addict. Period. She should be taught a lesson. Obviously that isn't going to happen so we will see her again in the paper. She got off easy and she knows it and now is sitting on her couch laughing about it....this is her 1st felony, how many misdemeanors does she have?


She's not a drug addict. Never has been. I don't in any way condone what she did, but what she did was steal some prescription drugs and sell them to support her family. It is still a crime, but don't make stuff up to make yourself feel better about your miserable life.


So she's a drug dealer selling to drug addicts!!! Wow, thank you so much for clearing that up. Drug DEALERS are so much better than Drug ADDICTS. Wow, I can sleep better. (insert sarcasm)


Someone accused her of being an addict. I corrected her. Of course, you've never let the truth get in the way of your ignorance and stupidity.