Woman gets time for dealing marijuana

Kelli Thomas

WOODSTOCK – A Shenandoah County woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to selling marijuana several times to a confidential informant last year.

Judge John McGrath sentenced Kelli Joann Thomas in Shenandoah County Circuit Court to two years in prison with one year and three months suspended for one count of distribution of marijuana. The judge sentenced Thomas to two years in prison, all time suspended, for each of three additional counts of the same offense. McGrath also sentenced her to 12 months in prison, all suspended, for obtaining money under false pretenses.

An agreement between Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley and Thomas’ lawyer Charles Ramsey called for the defendant to plead guilty to four felony counts of distribution of marijuana and one count of obtaining money by fraud. The judge accepted Thomas’ pleas and sentenced her to the terms included in the agreement. McGrath also dismissed several counts of the same offense under terms of the agreement.

McGrath delayed Thomas’ date for reporting to the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail to begin serving her sentence until July 13. Ramsey said his client wants to serve her time through home incarceration. Thomas told the judge she has a child with special needs and she could not find someone to take care of the child while she would serve her sentence.

The judge ordered Thomas to pay restitution, joint and severally with co-defendant Johnathon Stephens, to the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office in the amount of roughly $7,600 and $89 to Walmart. Thomas also must serve two years supervised probation upon release from incarceration.

Wiseley provided a proffer of the evidence the commonwealth would have used had the case gone to trial. A confidential informant working with the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office executed several controlled purchases of marijuana involving Thomas and Stephens on different occasions in January 2017 at an apartment on Ox Road in Woodstock, Wiseley explained. The informant used funds provided by the Sheriff’s Office to pay for the drugs. The informant also used an audio recording device provided by the agency.

Ramsey told the judge his client took issue with some of the details Wiseley gave as evidence but overall agreed with the proffer.

Authorities charged Thomas and Stephens with obtaining money by fraud stemming from a Nov. 25, 2016 incident in which the two defendants went to Walmart, put a tent in a shopping cart and then returned the item for an $89 gift card, which they used to make a payment on a layaway account at the store, Wiseley explained.

A judge sentenced Stephens on Dec. 15, 2017, to two years in prison with one year suspended for one count of distribution of marijuana that occurred Feb. 22, 2017. Stephens received two-year prison terms, all suspended, on each of three counts for the same offense. Stephens also received a 12-month jail term, all time suspended, for obtaining money by fraud from Walmart. The court dismissed several other counts of marijuana distribution.