YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — One of three people who was in a car where a Milton Township police officer had to be treated for fentanyl exposure was sentenced Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Jayme Valentine, 40, of Massillon, was sentenced to six months in the county jail as part of his sentence of three years probation. Valentine was also given credit for 133 days he has served in the jail since his arrest in October.
He faces more serious charges in Stark County, which was where he was at shortly before a car he was driving was pulled over just after midnight Oct. 23 for speeding at Mahoning and Grandview avenues in Milton Township.
Valentine, as well as two other defendants in the case, all pleaded guilty to fourth-degree felony charges of inducing panic, two counts of receiving stolen property and a misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property. Valentine also pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree felony charge of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle.
Valentine and his co-defendants face burglary charges in Stark County, which are second-degree felonies and carry longer sentences if convicted. One of the homes they are accused of burglarizing is a home that belonged to the mother of one of the co-defendants, defense attorney Katherine Rudzik said.
The receiving stolen property charges stem from the Stark County burglaries.
During the traffic stop, a Milton Township police officer was exposed to fentanyl and had to be treated with the opiate antidote naloxone.
Judge Anthony D’Apolito asked Valentine who had the fentanyl in the car. Valentine said he did not know. He said he admitted he had marijuana and a gun but he did not know where the fentanyl came from.
Judge D’Apolito said that answer disturbed him because he thought the person who had the fentanyl should receive a harsher sentence than the other defendants because the police officer became ill.
“It’s very important to me to know who had the fentanyl that almost killed this police officer,” Judge D’Apolito said.
Rudzik told the judge she advised her client not to speak because he still has the pending charges in Stark County and anything he said could be used against him.
Judge D’Apolito said he was not sure he believed Valentine. The judge said Valentine was with the two women in the planning and execution of the burglaries and he would surely know who had the fentanyl.
“I’m a little cynical as I get older. I used to believe everyone. Now I believe hardly anyone,” Judge D’Apolito said.
Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Paris said because felonies were fourth-degree felonies, probation is usually assumed by the state. She recommended the jail time for all the defendants and the same sentence so that they would be held accountable for the officer becoming ill.
“I treated them all the same as if they all possessed it,” Paris said.
Judge D’Apolito said he would agree to accept the plea agreement. He ordered Valentine to enter a drug treatment program should he not enter one after his case in Stark County concludes.