NEW Elkhart County Courthouse stock photo

GOSHEN — A Goshen woman faces about two decades in prison in a meth-dealing case.

Jennifer Jennings, 38, was sentenced during a hearing in Elkhart County Circuit Court Thursday.

Judge Michael Christofeno ordered Jennings to serve a term of 25 years in prison followed by five years of probation. After she’s done the equivalent of 17-and-a-half years, Jennings will be eligible to enter into a therapeutic addictions treatment program in prison.

The sentence was stipulated under an agreement in which Jennings pleaded guilty to a Level 2 felony count of dealing methamphetamine in August. As part of the deal, five additional drug charges, including one for dealing cocaine, were dropped from the case. A meth possession case and two misdemeanor cases against Jennings were also dismissed.

Jennings was charged in the meth dealing case in April 2019 after police searched a house along East Emerald Street in Elkhart. Investigators found about 53 grams of meth in a room, as well as cocaine, marijuana, other drugs and prescription pills in the house, according to details in the probable cause affidavit in the case.

During her sentencing, Jennings thanked police for arresting her at the time, saying she now believes they saved her life.

Christofeno urged her to remain clean during and after her sentence.

“It is time for you to get off this wheel of addiction. It’s time for you to turn things around,” Christofeno said.

GUILTY PLEA

Several other hearings were held in Circuit Court Thursday.

Among them, Dustin McDonald, 32, of Elkhart pleaded guilty to a Level 2 felony count of dealing methamphetamine and a Level 5 felony count of possession of a handgun as a convicted felon.

McDonald admitted he was carrying meth he intended to sell when he was arrested in Goshen May 31, 2019.

During a traffic stop at South Ninth and East Jefferson streets, in which McDonald was a passenger in a vehicle, Goshen police found 20 grams of meth measured out in small baggies in a backpack McDonald carried. Police also found a revolver and other items in the bag, according to details in the probable cause affidavit in the case.

Terms of McDonald’s plea agreement call for him to be sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by five years in a community corrections program and five years of probation.

Judge Christofeno accepted the plea and convicted McDonald.

He then scheduled Oct. 15 as his sentencing date.

INITIAL HEARING

Adren Jefferson of Elkhart appeared for an initial hearing in a robbery case in Goshen.

The 26-year-old is charged with a Level 3 felony count of armed robbery. He and another man, Dwayne Perkins Jr., are accused of holding up an employee at gunpoint at a 7-Eleven store, 2220 Elkhart Road, in January 2017.

Judge Christofeno entered a not-guilty plea on Jefferson’s behalf, appointed a public defender to the case and took Jefferson’s request for a bond reduction under consideration. He also scheduled the trial to begin March 1, 2021.

Perkins is also charged with armed robbery. A warrant was issued for his arrest when the case was filed Sept. 1.

Aimee Ambrose can be reached at aimee.ambrose@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 240316. Follow her on Twitter at @aambrose_TGN.

Aimee Ambrose can be reached at aimee.ambrose@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 240316. Follow her on Twitter at @aambrose_TGN.

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