A self-confessed heroin dealer who had overdosed seven times herself has been sentenced to nine years with the Indiana Department of Corrections.
Terry Lynne Jones, 27, of Columbus, was ordered Tuesday to spend six years behind bars, with the remainder in a community corrections program, by Bartholomew Superior Court 1 Judge Jim Worton.
Worton imposed a condition that Jones cannot have any contact with a boyfriend with multiple felony convictions until after she has been released from probation.
Arguing that further contact with the boyfriend would inevitably lead Jones back into a life of crime, deputy prosecutor Bryce Wagner requested the special condition — and Worton agreed.
Prior to a July 2014 revamping of Indiana code, Jones could have been sentenced to up to 100 years in prison for selling heroin twice within 1,000 feet of a public park, Wagner said after the sentencing hearing.
In his closing comments, the deputy prosecutor agreed with defense attorney Ben Loheide that Jones — who shed tears throughout her testimony — feels genuine remorse and accepts responsibility for her actions.
Wagner also acknowledged the defendant does not physically resemble a stereotypi- cal heroin dealer or drug addict.
“She doesn’t look like it, but she was a professional drug dealer,” Wagner said. “She made money off it. She has extensive contact with larger dealers and a solid supply of heroin.”
The sentence was pronounced after Jones acknowledged under oath that she had overdosed on heroin on seven different occasions. She also testified she had voluntarily given up custody of her two children to her father a few years ago due to her addiction.
Wagner also read part of a presentence report stating the Columbus woman — who relapsed into heroin use twice after separate intervention attempts were made within seven months — was using as much as six grams of heroin and methamphetamine a day.
“You are on your way to death,” Worton exclaimed after Jones admitted being revived with the opiate antidote Narcan on three different occasions.
Jones is “well beyond” receiving a suspended sentence involving residential treatment or being enrolled in the local Women Recovering with a Purpose program, the judge concluded.
The defendant was both under police surveillance and on probation when she sold multiple doses of heroin two different times early last year, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed June 18 of last year.
In January 2015, Jones sold seven foil packets of heroin for $160 outside a home less than a block west of Lincoln Park — and nine packets for $200 at the same location four days later, the affidavit stated.
Less than two weeks after the second drug deal, Jones was arrested for breaking terms of her probation and sent to a women’s penitentiary, according to jail records.
Criminal charges against Jones were filed June 18, 2015, and bond was set at $200,000, according to court documents.
On Nov. 2, the Columbus woman was offered a plea bargain where prosecutors agreed to recommend what Worton would eventually accept: a nine-year sentencing cap.
On June 6, Jones accepted that agreement by pleaded guilty to two counts of dealing in a narcotic drug, which are Level 5 felonies.
Around that same time, it was reported that six local heroin users — about one out of every three Bartholomew County overdose victims — had died this year.
Jones claimed she was set up during drug deals with a confidential informant, but Wagner reminded her that she initiated the exchange of money for narcotics — not the informant.
In 2014, she was one of three Columbus area residents arrested in a case that turned up heroin and about 50 hypodermic needles in a Seymour motel room. Jones was convicted of unlawful possession of a syringe in that matter but also received a 90-day jail term for conversion in a separate Jackson County case that same year.
Jones is also facing a Level 6 felony theft charge, accused of stealing a coffee maker from a local department store in April.