A convicted drug dealer who was a no-show for his sentencing hearing last month was sentenced Wednesday to 23 months in prison.
Ryan L. Porter, 21, of Shelby, didn't appear for an Aug. 29 sentencing date in Huron County Common Pleas Court.
The court rescheduled the hearing for Sept. 5, but "he again didn't appear," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said.
Huron County Public Defender David Longo, at Wednesday's hearing, said Porter was visiting his "very ill" grandmother in Dayton, but he hadn't missed any court dates before that. Regardless, Longo said it was mistake not to show up. The public defender stressed that his client didn't flee the area.
In August, Longo and Leffler couldn't confirm the report of Porter's supposed "family emergency."
"All we could do was send a letter to his mother," Longo said at the time to Judge Jim Conway, who issued a warrant for Porter's arrest.
The Huron County Sheriff's Office looked for Porter at his mother's home Sept. 5. Longo said his client later surrendered to authorities.
Porter pleaded guilty to failure to appear on a bill of information Wednesday. That means he agreed to be convicted of the fourth-degree felony before it was reviewed for a possible indictment by a grand jury.
In early July, Porter pleaded guilty to an unrelated count of trafficking heroin. The conviction is for a Jan. 12, 2012 controlled drug buy when he sold two balloons of the drug to an undercover informant on Gallup Avenue in Norwalk.
Porter told the informant he got the heroin from "some Mexicans in Columbus," who were wrapping the balloons in dryer sheets to prevent the dogs from smelling it, Leffler said earlier.
"I'm bothered about the two prior domestic violence (charges) he has on his record," Leffler said at Wednesday's hearing.
The prosecutor said he believed "shocking" Porter into prison and then releasing him early into a community-based corrections facility would help him get a handle on his drug addiction. A CBCF is a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education.
"We think he needed to get out of the heroin so he doesn't ruin any other people's lives," Leffler added.
As part of a plea deal, Leffler said the state wouldn't oppose Porter applying for early release from prison after two months and then have him go to a CBCF.