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.

Comments

KURTje

Thieves? Was told about a guy who STOLE a tachometer in Willard (the 70's). hmmmmmmm. Opps. He never did wrong.

JN

How about all you "I'm better than Norwalk scum (yet I still park my arse here)" self righteous ingnorants find a more productive hobby! And grab a spoon while your at it, hmm?!!? Big whoop, someone did something that wasn't moral standards. Hey, I ran a red light today..awe shite call the cops. It was an oops..get over it!

WASP71

Running a red light is oops..stealing and selling drugs is a fool.

betrump

Pack up and move. It's obvious that you're far too good for Norwalk.

WASP71

Aughhh...betrump...don't be mad or upset that you have no friends and have to try and pick on someone like me. I'm not better than Norwalk. But I am better than you, and THAT is what REALLY counts. Argue with ya later, fool!!

betrump

I'm not picking on you. I'm simply pointing out your hypocrisy.

four

You steal you should go to prison.You do drugs you should go to prison.You do both you should go to prison,unless you are being judged in Huron county by Judge Jim Conway.Then you will go free.

ShineON

how awful! -can't imagine the shame and embarrassment she is having to live with!? not to mention her young children that have become involved!? (involuntarily)
.......DO NOT AGREE with "locking up" first time offenders.....Everybody has made a mistake along the way, it makes more sense to offer her help. Sounds like she made a terrible decision, that I am sure she regrets- either way- there are young innocent children involved, and offering her help/counseling would be far more beneficial to her family and tax payer's dollars than locking her up!!!!

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