Heroin User’S Second Chance Ends With Same Result

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Just two weeks after a judge gave a Payson man a second chance on a drug charge, police arrested him passed out with a stash of drugs.

A Gila County Superior Court judge two weeks ago gave Nathan James O’Donnell, 22, probation on charges of possessing heroin, expressing skepticism about whether he would take advantage of the reprieve.

On Feb. 5, a resident called police at about 8 .am. to report a stranger was asleep in a green pickup out front of their home on West Sherwood, said Police Chief Don Engler.

Officers found the truck parked illegally and O’Donnell passed out inside, Engler said.

Officers woke up O’Donnell. Officers said he immediately started moving things around in the cab, as though he were hiding something, Engler said.

O’Donnell was reportedly holding a wad of aluminum foil with heroin and officers found additional heroin in the truck.

The stash added up to more than 3 grams of the drug — a “considerable amount,” Engler said.

O’Donnell had reportedly driven the truck from Colorado with a cousin some time previously.

In a previous case, officers pulled O’Donnell over in that same truck and found heroin inside. O’Donnell maintained his innocence, saying the vehicle was not his and neither were the drugs.

A jury in December found O’Donnell guilty of possessing heroin, but not selling it.

Because it was his first drug offense, O’Donnell got probation on Jan. 21 in accordance with a voter-approved initiative. Under Arizona Proposition 200, non-violent, first-time drug offenders are guaranteed probation and recovery programs with no prospect for prison or jail.

At that sentencing hearing, O’Donnell thanked the judge for the second chance and vowed to get his life back together.

Gila County Superior Court Judge Peter Cahill warned O’Donnell not to waste the opportunity.

In the latest incident, officers arrested O’Donnell on charges of possessing drug paraphernalia, a narcotic drug, aggravated DUI and possessing a narcotic drug for sale.

Engler said O’Donnell evoked his rights early on in the investigation, but did admit it was heroin.

Comments

Pat Randall 10 months, 1 week ago

Now we will pay for another trial and court appointed attorney. Nice going Cahill.

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Ronald Hamric 10 months, 1 week ago

Pat,

I'm no fan of Cahill, but you might want to also place some blame on Prop. 200. The man was " guaranteed probation and recovery programs with no prospect for prison or jail.". As I see this case, Cahill had little discretion.

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Heather Dotson 10 months, 1 week ago

I can understand prop 200 helping folks with idiotic charges, like marijuana possession, but heroine? Please, people addicted that that have no power on their own to kick it, they need time in jail or treatment to go through the horrible withdrawals or they will be right back where this guy was.

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Ronald Hamric 10 months, 1 week ago

Again, your argument should be directed at Prop 200, not the judges that have to use it for sentencing users of ANY drug, if they have no prior record of substance abuse. And I don't disagree with your premise about heroin addiction/use. Saw way too much of that in my career on the streets of SoCal. Any sympathy I may have ever had for these folks was gradually and effectively worn out over those years.

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Pat Randall 10 months, 1 week ago

Ronald. This was not his first offense if you have read everything in the newspaper. How many times do they have to be arrested before jail time?

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Ronald Hamric 10 months, 1 week ago

Pat,

My apologies. I misread that "first" reprieve as his first offense. My bad. You are correct.

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