Man gets 9-month sentence for role in robbery 20-year-old acknowledges struggles with addiction

September 03, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

A 20-year-old Westminster man was sentenced yesterday in Carroll County Circuit Court to nine months in jail on charges stemming from a strong-arm robbery in June 1997 and possession of cocaine a month later.

During sentencing, Nicholas R. Stonesifer of the 600 block of Littlestown Pike spoke eloquently but humbly about his addiction to alcohol and heroin since age 15.

He told visiting Circuit Judge Daniel W. Moylan, retired from Washington County, that three months in the county jail had allowed him to participate in counseling sessions with a clear head.

Prosecutor Jerry Joyce recommended 18 months in jail for his role in the robbery, noting that Stonesifer beat a young man much smaller than himself for $3.

Stonesifer told the court that his substance abuse began with alcohol and marijuana and escalated to heroin.

"I would have done anything to get high," he said.

Moylan said he was glad to learn that the defendant had re-established communication with his parents and pastor, but the judge denied probation before judgment.

On the charge of conspiring with an unnamed juvenile to commit robbery, Stonesifer was sentenced to 18 months in jail. Nine months of the term were suspended and credit was given for three months Stonesifer has served.

When he is released, Stonesifer will be on probation for three years. As conditions of probation, he must obtain and maintain a stable living situation and find and keep a job, unless he enters educational or vocational training.

He also must remain abstinent from alcohol and drugs and attend 90 substance-abuse counseling sessions within 90 days of his release. He must attend no fewer than four such meetings a week and participate and comply with all treatment recommended by county mental-health officials during the remainder of his probation.

"Don't ever think your probation is too long," Moylan told Stonesifer. "It's less time than the five years you have" [wasted by getting high].

On the drug charge, possession of 18 bags of cocaine worth an estimated $20 each, Stonesifer pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Moylan then suspended all but six months, to be served at the county jail concurrent to the six months remaining on the conspiracy-to-rob sentence.

Pub Date: 9/03/98

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