How $31 of pot gave mom a 10-year-prison sentence

BY GINNIE GRAHAM - Tulsa World Modified: February 20, 2011 at 12:00 am •  Published: February 20, 2011

— Because of $31 in marijuana sales, Patricia Marilyn Spottedcrow is now serving 10 years in prison, has been taken away from her four young children and husband, and has ended her work in nursing homes.

Three days before Christmas, Spottedcrow, 25, entered the Eddie Warrior Correctional Center.

“I'm nervous … because it's prison … people I don't know,” she said.

“People said don't get too comfortable here or you'll be here longer. Don't make too many friends. Come and do your time and get out.”

Marijuana transactions

On Dec. 31, 2009, Spottedcrow and her mother, Delita Starr, 50, sold a “dime bag” of marijuana to a police informant at Starr's home in Kingfisher, court records state.

Starr handled the transaction and asked her 9-year-old grandson — Spottedcrow's son — for some dollar bills to make change for the $11 sale.

Two weeks later, the same informant returned and bought $20 of marijuana from Spottedcrow.

The two women were arrested for drug distribution and because Spottedcrow's children were in the home, an additional charge of possession of a dangerous substance in the presence of a minor was added.

“It just seemed like easy money,” said Spottedcrow, who says she is not a drug user but has smoked marijuana. “I thought we could get some extra money. I've lost everything because of it.”

The women were each offered plea deals of two years in prison. But because neither had prior convictions and the drug amounts were low, they gambled and entered a guilty plea before a judge with no prior sentencing agreement.

Starr received a 30-year suspended sentence with no incarceration, but five years of drug and alcohol assessments. Spottedcrow was sentenced to 10 years in prison for distribution and two years for possession, to run concurrently. She will be up for parole in 2014.

‘Cried for days'

Starr claims the cases have been “blown out of proportion” by lawmen and criticizes the sentences as stiff. “It shocked me and we cried for days,” she said. In addition, Starr was fined $8,600 and Spottedcrow $2,740.

“Never in a million years did I think I'd be here 10 years,” Spottedcrow said of prison.

“We were under the impression we would get probation. When I left for court, I just knew I was coming back home. It hit me like a ton of bricks. There were no goodbyes, they took me away right then. How do you tell your children you are going to prison? How do you prepare for this?”

Former Kingfisher County Judge Susie Pritchett, who retired in December, said the women were conducting “an extensive operation” and included children in the business.

“It was a way of life for them,” Pritchett said.

“Considering these circumstances, I thought it was lenient. By not putting the grandmother in prison, she is able to help take care of the children.”

A presentencing investigative report prepared by the Department of Corrections rated Spottedcrow's risk of re-offending as “high” and recommended substance abuse treatment while incarcerated.



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