Dowagiac woman sentenced on drug, probation violation charges

CASSOPOLIS – A Dowagiac woman was sentenced to a year in the Cass County Jail after being sentenced on a drug charge and a probation violation.

Tabitha Nichole Williams, 29, of W. Telegraph Street in Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamines as a habitual offender and was sentenced Friday in Cass County Circuit Court to 365 days in jail with credit for 136 days in jail. She must pay $1,198 in fines and costs and her license will be suspended for one year.

She also pleaded guilty to violating her probation from a 2018 conviction for possession of methamphetamines. Cass County Circuit Judge Mark Herman revoked Williams’ probation and ordered her to spend 365 days in jail with credit for 225 days served. The two jail terms are concurrent.

In the most recent case, police conducted a search of a home on O’Keefe Street in Cassopolis on Nov. 20, 2019, where Williams was staying. They found syringes and pipes and Williams admitted some were hers.

“You admitted a number of syringes were yours and you admitted you had relapsed,” Judge Herman noted. “The guidelines call for jail or a short prison term. Local jail time seems warranted and appropriate. The midpoint of the guidelines would be year in jail.

“You were on probation at time at the time of incident,” the judge added. “Your offense variables were zero in this case but you shouldn’t be rewarded for having a violation while you were on probation.”

Williams and her attorney, Robert Drake, appeared remotely for the sentencing and Judge Herman ordered Williams to turn herself into the county jail Friday afternoon to start her sentence.

Drake argued unsuccessfully for Williams to have sentences of credit for time served in both cases. The probation agent had recommended credit for time served on the probation violation and a year in jail on the other.

“If credit for time served is appropriate for the underlying case, why not for this case which is less egregious,” he said.

“This is her third controlled substance felony,” Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Hubbert said. “It’s concerning that she did this while on probation. The defendant needs to address her problems or this will continue to be a recurring issue. She is surrounding herself with the wrong people.”

Also Friday, an area man was sentenced to probation and $4,000 in restitution.

Ryan Devonne McCall was found guilty of larceny $1,000 to $20,000 and larceny in a building after a bench trial earlier this year and was sentenced Friday to five years’ probation, credit for one day served, $3,408 in fines and costs and $4,000 in restitution.

The incident occurred Aug. 4, 2018, in Cassopolis when McCall stole money and other items from people he was staying with on O’Keefe Street. Judge Herman called McCall’s explanation of how he got the money as the most preposterous he had ever heard.

While McCall claimed he received the money legitimately and had not stolen it from anyone, Herman said McCall failed to provide any documentation to support his claims.

“The most concerning thing is his conduct not only in committing crime but in trying to cover up,” Hubbert said. “He stole from people who considered him a friend and let him stay in their home. He tried to manipulate the situation and continued to tell lies in court. His conduct and refusal to own up to his actions remains a high concern.”

Also Friday:

  • Thomas Andrew Hebron, 48, of Kirk Lane Road in Vandalia, pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a motor vehicle and was sentenced to 18 months’ probation, a mental health assessment, credit for 166 days already served and $2,088 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred Aug. 27, 2019, when police were dispatched to his family’s home in the area.

Drake served as Hebron’s attorney. He noted that Hebron’s family turned to law enforcement when they couldn’t get mental health services for him.

“I see this a lot,” he said. “Families are frustrated with mental health services and turn to law enforcement to get help.”

  • Brenton Alan Harrell, 28, of M-51 S. in Dowagiac, pleaded no contest to possession of cocaine less than 50 grams and was sentenced to two years’ probation, credit for four days served and $2,828 in fines and costs. His sentence can be taken off his record if he is successful.

The incident occurred Oct. 12, 2019, when police stopped his car on Barron Lake Road in Howard Township and found cocaine and marijuana in the car. It is his first criminal charge.

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