A convicted heroin dealer admitted to a judge he was drinking beer the night before his sentencing hearing.
"I was drinking last night," defendant James C. Bogard III said Wednesday morning. "I had a couple beers."
When Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway asked him when he stopped drinking, the defendant said it was between midnight and 12:30 a.m. Bogard said he could think clearly. His speech was never slurred during the sentencing hearing.
"His eyes look OK," Huron County Public Defender David Longo told the judge.
Longo said when he reviewed the pre-sentence report with Bogard all of "his responses were appropriate."
In early November, Bogard, 24, of 147 N. West St., pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking in heroin. The conviction is for a Nov. 30 controlled drug buy involving a confidential informant.
As part of a plea deal, the state dismissed two counts of trafficking in heroin in connection with incidents on Aug. 14 and 17.
Although this is Bogard's first felony conviction, his lengthy juvenile record includes charges of burglary and inducing panic. His adult record includes multiple substance abuse-related misdemeanors such as underage consumption.
Bogard said Wednesday he has been letting himself and his family down.
"I'm ready to change," he said.
Bogard has been employed since the judge released him from jail Nov. 4. He had been unable to post 10 percent of a $5,000 bond.
"I want you to be able to keep the job," said Conway, who sentenced Bogard to 120 days in the Huron County on the work-release program.
The defendant, who was credited with 78 days behind bars, must maintain full-time employment and complete steps toward earning his GED while on two years of intensive probation. Bogard was fined $500, had his driver's license suspended for six months and must reimburse the Norwalk Police Department $120 to cover the cost of drug testing. He also is subject to random drug screens.
If he violates the terms of his probation, he faces one year in prison.