Woman who testified against others in drug ring gets lesser prison sentence

^ Posted Jan. 3

Woman who testified against other members gets one year, one day in prison

By Joe Beck

The last of three defendants who testified against other members of a drug selling ring at a recent federal trial received a reduced sentence Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Kathy Dawn Wheeling was sentenced to one year plus one day in prison after agreeing to plead guilty in June to a charge of allowing her apartment at 122 Ward Ave. in Winchester to be used in the distribution, manufacturing and storing of crack.

The prison imposed on Wheeling by Judge Michael F. Urbanski was accompanied by a probation term of three years.

Wheeling could have been sentenced to as many as four years and nine months in prison, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Grayson Hoffman recommended a sentence below federal guidelines, citing "substantial assistance to the government, which included testimony at the trial of her co-defendants."

Urbanski granted a motion by Wheeling's lawyer, assistant federal public defender Andrea L. Harris, to seal her sentencing memorandum.

Harrison said the memorandum includes "detailed confidential and sensitive information. No alternative to sealing will adequately protect against the potential harm that could ensue from dissemination of the confidential information contained in the memorandum."

Wheeling, along with David Allen Shifflett and Sycarra Lawton Chinn, testified at a nine-day trial running from late October into early November in which five people were convicted of more than 20 charges linked to a vast drug dealing operation in Winchester. Federal authorities estimate the ring sold more than 2,700 grams in Winchester from May 2009 to February 2012.

Wheeling, Chinn and Shifflett all received reduced sentences in exchange for their testimony and other cooperation. The other defendants are awaiting sentencing.

Urbanski sentenced Shifflett to three years and six months in prison and three years probation at a sentencing hearing on Dec. 19. Chinn was sentenced to four years in prison a earlier in December.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

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