Note: This story appears in the Wednesday, Sept. 11 newspaper on Page A3.
A Lancaster woman pleaded guilty Monday in Athens County Common Pleas Court to having engaged in a pattern of corrupt activity as part of an ongoing drug investigation in the county.
Jessica Morris, 40, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with credit for about two-thirds of a year already served. She also pleaded guilty to having weapons while under disability, money laundering and obstructing justice.
As part of a plea agreement, Morris is required to testify in cases related to more than a dozen people indicted in a related investigation, should she be called to do so. Prosecutors agreed to not oppose judicial release after Morris has served at least five years. Morris will also be placed on five years of post-release control.
Morris had been accused to being a distributor of methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine for numerous individuals who intended to sell drugs in Athens County, with the corrupt activities having reportedly occurred between Jan. 1, 2016 and Feb. 11, 2019. She was arrested in February after a Athens County Major Crimes Unit search of her residence reportedly uncovered drugs, handguns, digital scales, packaging material and $12,000 in cash.
The Messenger reported then that the corrupt activities charge alleged she sold meth to Troy Vermillion II and Robert “Drew” Martin. Those two men had faced charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter in the November 2018 shooting death in Athens of Charles Duncan Sr. Martin was convicted in Athens County Commons Pleas Court last week on complicity to involuntary manslaughter and other charges, The Messenger has reported. Vermillion’s case remains pending in court.
Fourteen alleged co-conspirators of Morris were indicted in August and face charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and possession of criminal tools. Several have already pleaded innocent.
“She was the supplier of these 14,” County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said