FRONT ROYAL — A local man was sentenced on Monday on the two heroin distribution charges he pleaded guilty to in May.
Charles Jeremy Henson, 32, sold heroin to a confidential informant in March 2016 within 1,000 feet of a school, a park and a library, and was charged with both heroin distribution and heroin distribution on public property. Henson had also been charged with distributing hydromorphone and distributing hydromorphone on public property, but those charges were dismissed when he pleaded guilty.
Henson testified during the hearing that he had been taking steps to better himself by working two jobs, staying clean and avoiding the people who were supporting his drug problems. He added that he is taking full responsibility for his actions and understands that he should not have been selling drugs.
“It was a very foolish mistake,” Henson said of his crime.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Fleming said that he hopes Henson has changed his life for the better, but that does not change the fact that he broke the law by selling heroin, adding that the drug is “killing people.”
“We need to start really punishing the people selling the heroin, your honor,” Fleming said, asking Circuit Judge James Lang to impose what he called a reasonable sentence.
John Bell, who represented Henson in this case, argued that the majority of Front Royal fulfills the statute for public property because of its proximity to publicly owned grounds and buildings. He also said that he recognizes heroin as a problem in the community, but that the judge should take into consideration that Henson turned his life around, and he already understands the consequences of committing the crime.
“The commonwealth wants to send a message,” Bell said. “We have to look at what kind of message we’re sending.”
Lang sentenced Henson to a total of 10 years imprisonment with all but one year of that time suspended. He also ordered Henson to complete three years of supervised probation upon his release, and pay $40 in restitution for the drug sale.
“You don’t have many more chances,” Lang added.
The execution of the sentence was delayed to Aug. 14 to allow Henson time to apply for the work release program.