Hiding Drugs in Bible for an Inmate Earns Woman 18 Months in Prison

COSHOCTON, Ohio, USA – A Coshocton woman said Monday in Coshocton County Common Pleas Court she often asks herself why she got involved with methamphetamine.

Cherokee L. Williamson, 30, was indicted on one count of complicity to commit illegal conveyance of prohibited items on the grounds of a detention facility, a third-degree felony, one count of aggravated possession of drugs relating to methamphetamine, a fifth-degree felony, and one count of possession of drugs relating to suboxone, a first-degree misdemeanor. Judge Robert Batchelor sentenced her to 18 months in prison total for the offences. She received 86 days of jail credit, and will serve up to three years of post release control upon getting out of prison.

Batchelor read Williamson’s account of events from documents in court. She said she was contacted by an individual who asked her to sneak drugs into the Coshocton Justice Center. Williamson prepared the drugs, hid them in a Bible and then gave the Bible to another woman to deliver to the jail. Williamson was the only one officially charged relating to the incident. She said in court she felt like she should not be the only one being punished, but Batchelor said he could only deal with the case before him.

The Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office said on April 11 a Bible intended for inmate Shane A. Edington Jr. was intercepted upon receipt at the justice center. Upon inspection, methamphetamine and suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat opioid dependence, was found in the spine of the Bible in small baggies and wrapped in foil. Edington was awaiting transport to prison to serve a 36-month sentence for three counts of burglary and one count of receiving stolen property.

Williamson’s attorney, Jeffrey Kellogg, said her use of methamphetamine led to the charges against her and she has admitted to problems with methamphetamine and desire for treatment. Kellogg asked the court for community control sanctions with drug treatment conditions. Coshocton County Assistant Prosecutor Ben Hall said the state would take no position on sentencing.

Batchelor said conveying drugs into the jail was an offense in his opinion that warranted prison time. He knows it happens and that officials are working hard to curtail the issue, such as use of a body scanner installed earlier this year.

“It’s a very dangerous situation in which we’re trying very hard to keep contraband out of the jail and people like you are working real hard to get them into the jail,” Batchelor told Williamson.

Batchelor noted Williamson had no prior felonies, but two misdemeanor convictions from earlier this year for transporting a loaded weapon. Williamson said in the one incident the firearm was registered in her name and she was going to fire it at a shooting range. In the other incident, she said she was in a vehicle and a gun was found under her seat during a traffic stop. Batchelor also said her bond was revoked in July for not reporting to a drug screening.

Batchelor questioned Williamson on her use of methamphetamine. She said she started about a year ago because she got mixed up with the wrong crowd. He asked why she would choose to do a drug she should know was addictive and destructive.

“I really don’t know, I ask myself all the time,” she replied.

Batchelor encouraged Williamson to take advantage of drug treatment options while in prison and to be the best inmate she can be for possible early release consideration.

“This is an opportunity for you to get your life in order,” Batchelor said. “This is your opportunity. You need to get squared away and you need to do it right now.