By DON O'BRIENHerald-Whig Staff Writer
A Mendon woman will spend eight years in prison after her third conviction on a methamphetamine charge.
Christina L. Metz, 58, pleaded for leniency from Judge Scott Walden at her sentencing hearing Monday afternoon. Walden told Metz that "a significant sentence" was appropriate and gave her eight years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for unlawful meth manufacturing. He also sentenced her to five years for possession of meth-manufacturing materials and three years for possession of less than 5 grams of meth. The sentences will run concurrently.
"I never hurt anyone when I was doing this," Metz told Walden through tears. "I plead for you to give me a minimum sentence."
Metz was facing up to 30 years after an Adams County Circuit Court jury found her guilty of all three charges in a November trial. She was not eligible for probation and faced a minimum of four years in prison.
First Assistant State's Attorney Gary Farha said Metz's repeated meth use didn't warrant a minimum sentence. She received 24 months' probation in a 2009 Adams County case after she pleaded guilty to the illegal disposal of meth-manufacturing waste. While she was still on probation in that case, she was convicted of illegal possession of meth in Brown County. She also received probation in that case.
"She had a wonderful opportunity to make changes in her life, and she didn't," Farha said. "The evidence was overwhelming with her involvement in meth manufacturing."
Metz was arrested March 28 after officers with the West Central Illinois Task Force served a search warrant on a mobile home in the Kropps Court trailer park. Police found a shake-and-bake meth lab and a number of items associated with the meth-manufacturing process inside the trailer.
At her trial, Metz said the meth-manufacturing materials already were in the house when she moved there. Metz was found with meth in one of her pockets, and she had bought pseudoephedrine March 6. A receipt for that purchase was found in the trash. Farha said empty blister packs of pseudoephedrine, peeled lithium batteries, and a receipt for the purchase of lithium batteries also were found in the trash.
At Monday's sentencing, Farha asked Walden to give Metz a 15-year sentence.
Gerald Timmerwilke, who represented Metz, argued that his client deserved a minimal sentence, saying Metz was a "classic case of a nonviolent drug offender."
"She is basically a good-hearted person who has a problem with meth," Timmerwilke said before asking Walden for a four-year sentence.
Metz told Walden that she feared losing all her possessions and her family if she was sent to prison for an extended period.
In November, it took the jury just 30 minutes to find Metz guilty at the end of the two-day trial. Metz did not testify.
She was one of two people arrested in the case. The other, Charles E. Jenkins, entered an Alford plea on his charge and last month was sentenced to 24 months of nonjudgment probation.