A Columbus woman was sentenced Thursday to 2 1/2 years in federal prison for her role in a central Ohio drug-trafficking ring.
Her supporters insisted that she had been pulled into the life of crime by her abusive and controlling boyfriend.
Judy L. Kindle, 45, had no criminal record when a co-worker at a North Side Waffle House introduced her to Jack A. Morris Jr., who is awaiting sentencing for running the drug operation out of his Northeast Side home.
Kindle’s attorney, Alan J. Pfeuffer, told U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost that Kindle was as much Morris’ victim as his co-conspirator.
“This is not a Bonnie-and-Clyde case,” Pfeuffer said. “She truly was a captive.”
The sentence imposed by Frost is less than is called for in federal guidelines, and it is shorter than the 52 months recommended by prosecutors, who had agreed to a reduced prison term because of Kindle’s cooperation with law enforcement.
Kindle pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy and aiding and abetting another in possessing guns in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.
She was charged this spring with Morris, 37, and two other co-defendants. Morris was convicted in a trial earlier this summer in which Kindle testified against him.
Authorities charged Morris with running the drug operation out of the home he shared with Kindle at 4495 Wyandotte Dr. Authorities said that from about June 2011 through November 2012, the conspiracy supplied street-level dealers with drugs, plus guns and body armor.
Authorities seized seven guns, cocaine, marijuana, hundreds of prescription pills and more than $10,000 in cash during the investigation.
Pfeuffer said Kindle had worked as a restaurant manager for years and fell into criminal activity only after she began seeing Morris. Her son and a friend told Frost yesterday that Morris confined her to the house and wouldn’t allow them to see her.
“Jack controlled her life,” Pfeuffer said.
Frost agreed that Kindle was an atypical drug-trafficking defendant and told her, “You’ve convinced me that you’ve learned your lesson.”
But he added that prison time was warranted because she helped Morris to spread the scourge of drug abuse in their community.
“Ms. Kindle, I know you don’t believe it,” Frost said. “But I believe it’s a minor miracle that you’re walking out of here with a 30-month sentence.”
By Theodore Decker - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
©2013 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)
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