By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
A Quincy woman was sentenced to probation and was commended by the prosecution and the judge for her actions after her arrest on a methamphetamine charge last year.
Kayla N. DeMoss, 24, was sentenced to 24 months of TASC probation on a charge of unlawful use of property, a Class 2 felony. DeMoss pleaded guilty on Feb. 7 to allowing a residence she controlled in the 1100 block of N. 10th be used for the manufacture of meth.
If DeMoss successfully completes the terms of her probation, the charge will be stricken from her record. She was eligible to receive between 3 and 7 years in prison.
Since her arrest, DeMoss has "done virtually everything right," First Assistant State's Attorney Gary Farha said. Farha argued that DeMoss should receive probation.
"This is a serious charge in that involved the manufacture of meth," he said. "Ms. DeMoss has done virtually everything right since her arrest. She has a strong family support system in place. She does seem to be happy and is in a good place in her life."
DeMoss was arrested Oct. 3, one of five people taken into custody as a result of a search warrant executed Sept. 24 for a residence in the 1100 block of N. 10th. Justin K. Richie, 29, Darren R. Richie, 27, Cody A. Brown, 22, and Alex M. Stinnett, 29, were arrested on charges of aggravated unlawful participation in methamphetamine production, a Class X felony.
DeMoss also was facing an aggravated unlawful participation in methamphetamine production charge, because a child lived in the residence. That charge was dismissed as part of her plea agreement.
Law enforcement officials were trying to serve an arrest warrant on a person at the residence when they said they found all of the items needed to manufacture meth. Officers with the West Central Illinois Task Force found people inside the house trying to bury items in the basement. Three one-pot shake-and-bake meth labs were recovered, police said.
"This young lady had a wake-up call," Don Heck, who served as DeMoss' attorney, said. "We, as officers of the court, know that meth is an epidemic in this area, but a lot of people don't appreciate that fact until they get smacked right in the face with it. She has been smacked in the face."
DeMoss has received counseling and tested clean every time since her arrest. She is currently doing outpatient counseling through Recovery Resources.
Mays said he had no problem agreeing to a sentence of probation.
"One reason both counselors didn't have to say much is because you have done everything we've asked you to do," he said. "It makes my job easier when someone like you says they have a problem and does something about it. Not everyone who sits in that chair does that."
Mays reminded DeMoss that this is one of the first steps in her recovery and that she can't let her guard down because of meth's addictive nature. He warned her not to associate with people who are doing drugs. She is married to Justin Richie, who pleaded guilty to an unlawful use of property charge last month. He will be sentenced by Mays next month. He could receive up to seven years in prison.
"If you both don't have the same success, than I am afraid that you both will fail," Mays told her.
DeMoss apologized to the court.
"I have made some mistakes, and I have learned from them," she said. "I am making changes in my life and working as much as I can."
Mays also sentenced DeMoss to 60 days in the Adams County Jail, giving her credit for five days served. He stayed the rest of that jail time. DeMoss has been free since she posted $2,000 bond on Oct. 5.
Two defendants in the case already have been sent to the Illinois Department of Corrections. Darren Richie and Brown pleaded guilty to unlawful participation in meth production on Nov. 30. Richie was sentenced to six years, Brown five. Stinnett's case is on the May jury docket.