Two Felony 4 trafficking charges were dropped in return for the plea. A prison term is not mandatory, although Darke County Assistant Prosecutor Deb Quigley requested it.
“Because of the serious nature of a Felony 3,” she said, “the state believes the presumption should be a prison term. He was selling heroin in the vicinity of a school. A serious sanction must be posed to send the message this will not be tolerated in Darke County,” she added. “He isn’t using heroin… just selling it. This is serious.”
Minnich’s attorney, Paul Wagner, asked for community control sanctions, noting his client had already spent 62 days in jail and had not been in trouble in over 20 years. Minnich spent a year in prison in 1992 for stolen property.
Minnich addressed the court, saying “I feel horrible for what I did,” adding however he had a family to take care of. “I’m not a deadbeat dad,” he said.
Hein said, “You were selling heroin. Where did you get it?” When Minnich responded, Hein said, “You didn’t answer my question. Where did you get it?”
“I’m sorry, your Honor.” Minnich said he got it from Rick Fleetwood, who is currently awaiting trial.
Minnich, along with Damian King and Todd Clemens, was arrested on Aug. 6 following a lengthy narcotics investigation. The arrest was conducted jointly by the Greenville Police Department, Darke County Sheriff’s Office and Darke County Juvenile Probation. Three children were in the home at the time and placed with family members. Fleetwood was arrested at a later date.
“You said you don’t smoke pot because of your sons (ages 13 and 9), but you choose to commit a criminal act,” Hein said. “You know how when your sons tell you something they often only give you half of the story?” Minnich said “yes, sir.” “That’s how it (your story) sounds to me.”
Hein told Minnich Quigley was right when she said F3 presumes prison, but is not mandatory.
“I’m giving you 60 months community control. How much education do you have?” Minnich said 10th grade. “Are you going to let your boys quit school after 10th grade?” “No, sir.” “You’re going to the MonDay program first… come out with a G.E.D.
“Don’t tell your kids, show them.”
Hein told him supporting his family is not an excuse for committing a crime.
“I don’t get you saying you had to sell drugs to support your family. How many jobs did you turn down because you thought you were too good?”
Hein also said he didn’t believe the defendant when he said he sold drugs but didn’t use them. He added, however, “I’m a skeptic but I’m giving you a chance. To your credit, you came out of prison. I didn’t see you for 15 years. But that’s still not good enough.”
Hein ordered Minnich continue under house arrest, where he’d been since being released from jail, until he was accepted into the MonDay program.