Defendant accused of dealing heroin pleads guilty to possession

A local man originally accused of dealing in heroin could receive up to 8½ years in prison when he is sentenced next month in Bartholomew Circuit Court.

In charges stemming from separate cases, Eric M. Winship, 24, 1778 Ruddick Ave., pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a narcotic drug as a Level 5 and Level 6 felony, as well as resisting arrest as a Level 6 felony.

On Jan. 16, Winship attempted to flee from a Columbus police officer as he was being arrested in the 1500 block of Washington Street for driving while suspended, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

After Winship was subdued by a stun gun following a struggle, arresting officers found heroin and digital scales inside Winship’s jacket, said Lt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police Department spokesman.

Officers also located additional items related to drug distribution in a backpack believed to belong to Winship, Harris said.

As a result, the defendant was formally charged with dealing in a narcotic drug, possession of a narcotic drug, resisting law enforcement and driving while suspended.

After being released on bond, Winship did not show up for his April 25 initial court hearing, and an arrest warrant was issued.

Police were unable to track him down until May 16, when they were called to investigate a shoplifting incident inside a store on the city’s far west side.

When officers arrived, they saw Winship struggling with security personnel. Besides $50 worth of stolen merchandise, police also found small baggies containing a total of 2.42 grams of heroin, a second probable-cause affidavit stated.

In a proposed plea agreement dated July 14, prosecutors offered to allow Winship to plead guilty to two charges regarding the first incident: possession of a narcotic drug as a Level 5 felony, as well as resisting arrest as a Level 6 felony. The agreement called for the time from both charges to be served concurrently, rather than consecutively.

On Monday, Winship agreed to those terms, as well as to plead guilty to possession of a narcotic as a Level 6 felony for the second incident.

If Bartholomew Circuit Judge Stephen Heimann accepts the agreement, all other charges will be dropped during sentencing on Sept. 22, court records stated.

What's next?

Sentencing for Eric M. Winship is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 22 at 1:30 p.m. before Bartholomew Circuit Court Judge Stephen Heimann.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.