CLARKSBURG — Jason Marple, who dealt drugs in his process server uniform while on duty and carrying his Harrison County Sheriff’s Department-issued handgun, was sentenced to 6 3/4 years in federal prison on Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Irene M. Keeley sentenced Marple, 36, of Clarksburg, to the mandatory minimum of five years in prison for carrying the .45-caliber Glock Model 30 semiautomatic while he was dealing drugs.
Keeley added 1 3/4 years to Marple’s term for the other charge to which he pleaded guilty, aiding and abetting distribution of oxycodone within 1,000 feet of the Clarksburg City Park Playground.
Represented by Federal Defender Brian Kornbrath, Marple will receive credit for already having spent more than 205 days in jail pending prosecution.
The judge also ruled Marple must spend six years on supervised release once he gets out of prison.
Keeley credited Marple with what amounted to a 6-month reduction on his sentence. That came when the judge applied an across-the-board reduction in drug sentencing that goes into effect Nov. 1 after it initially was suggested by outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawn Morgan unsuccessfully argued that the reduction shouldn’t apply, while Kornbrath countered that it should.
Marple apologized to the court, and for the “negativity” his actions brought upon the Sheriff’s Department and especially on the Process Server Division of the department.
His action “shouldn’t be indicative of the work they do,” he told Keeley.
He also said he didn’t want people to think that his actions were undertaken “as a dangerous and threatening individual.”
“I was a drug addict who needed help, and I was ashamed to ask for it, which makes no sense, because these people who showed up, I could have approached any one of them and gotten all the help I needed,” he said. He was referring to family and supporters who filled up his side of the gallery.
Federal Defender Kornbrath asked the court to trim 9 more months off Marple’s sentence, which would have left him to serve the mandatory minimum five years on the gun charge and the mandatory minimum 1 year on the drug charge.
Marple had no prior criminal record, strong family support, and a plausible explanation, Kornbrath added. He said Marple turned to self-medicating due to a workplace injury that required emergency brain surgery and left him with debilitating headaches following that.
Morgan argued for the sentence imposed by the court.
Marple committed “extreme criminal misconduct,” using his uniform, badge, gun and vehicle to elude detection while he distributed OxyContin unlawfully, Morgan said.
It was “extremely dangerous” when Marple drove “all around the county” with his gun to conduct drug transactions, Morgan argued.
Also, Marple’s employer got word that he might be using in 2011, and the defendant could have sought help at that time, but didn’t, Morgan said.
Marple passed drug screens at that time and remained in his job until another public tip, this time to the Greater Harrison Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, resulted in the defendant’s arrest after a 56-day investigation earlier this year.
Keeley agreed with Kornbrath’s assessment that there were “two Jason Marples.” But she indicated that the one who broke the law was the one with whom she had to be concerned with during Thursday’s hearing.
“I know your contrition is sincere, and I have great respect for that,” the judge told Marple.
But his actions were dangerous to the community, the judge added, and Marple could have, indeed, turned to his support system for help much earlier, she continued.
The defendant should “only be grateful you never used that gun, that you weren’t called upon to use it, but that doesn’t minimize (that you had it),” the judge said.
Two of Marple’s codefendants, Chad Alton Register, 31, of Anmoore, and Russell “Rusty” Powers, 50, of Clarksburg, were sentenced by Keeley later Thursday.
Register previously pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting distribution of oxycodone and was sentenced to a year and a day in prison, followed by 2 years of supervised release. Powers previously pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute oxycodone, and was sentenced to 1 3/4 years in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release.
The other defendants in the case, Christopher Michael Walls, Jerome Naquan “Marlo” Haynes, Dedreayl “D” Maddox, true name Deadryl Youmans, George Powers and Marple’s supplier, Casey Searcy, also have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing at later dates.
Walls, 29, entered a plea to aiding and abetting distribution of oxycodone; Haynes, 34, and Searcy, 33, each entered a plea to aiding and abetting distribution of oxycodone within 1,000 feet of the Clarksburg City Park of North View’s playground; George Powers, 34, entered a plea to aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute oxycodone; and Maddox, 29, entered a plea to an oxycodone possession/distribution conspiracy.
Haynes is to be sentenced Nov. 20, Searcy on Nov. 24, Maddox on Nov. 25, George Powers on Dec. 5, and Walls on Jan. 26.
In addition to the Greater Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Three Rivers Drug Task Force all played roles in the investigation, while State Police and the U.S. Marshals Service had roles in the arrests of the defendants.