LIMA — A young Lima woman convicted last month by a jury on a first-degree felony cocaine possession charge maintained her innocence Wednesday during her sentencing hearing in Allen County Common Pleas Court.
Daysha Lane said she would appeal her conviction on the possession charge that included specifications for the use of a firearm and for the forfeiture of the weapon and money in a drug case. The jury also found Lane guilty of a fourth-degree felony count of possession of heroin.
It was also announced by the court that Lane had filed, without the assistance of an attorney, a hand-written motion seeking a new trial.
While that motion and any appeal process work their way through the respective courts, Lane will begin serving a seven-year prison sentence handed down Wednesday by Judge Terri Kohlrieser.
Lane, 24, was arrested after the execution of a search warrant by the West Central Ohio Crime Task Force on Oct. 2, 2019, at her residence at 949 Leland Avenue in Lima turned up more than 80 grams of cocaine — more than the 27 grams needed to elevate the offense to a first-degree felony — and 2.88 grams of heroin. A firearm was also found under a mattress inside the home.
During her jury trial Lane’s attorney, Steve Chamberlain of the Allen County Public Defenders Office, portrayed his client as an unwilling participant in a drug-dealing operation. The trial took on some added drama when — as jurors were deliberating — Lane placed a call to the Allen County jail and talked to inmate Deontray Forrest, who was the target of the task force raid at the Leland Avenue residence and who is currently the primary suspect in a triple homicide at Levels Lounge in downtown Lima.
During Wednesday’s sentencing hearing Chamberlain again alleged that Forrest was the real drug dealer and that Lane was merely acting out of her fear of her boyfriend and father of one of her children.
“This is a pattern drug dealers in this community use all the time; they prey on the vulnerable,” Chamberlain said. “He (Forrest) exploited her loyalty and the love she had for him for profit.”
Prosecutors said Lane was a willing participant in drug transactions in Lima.
“The evidence presented at trial shows that the defendant was not a puppet on a string controlled by her abusive boyfriend, as she attempts to portray,” said Assistant Allen County Prosecutor Mariah Cunningham. “She was not and is still not afraid of Deontray Forrest and continues to have conversations with him on a daily basis.”
Speaking softly to the judge prior to the imposition of sentence, Lane maintained her innocence.
“It was his dope. They were not my drugs. I’m innocent,” the woman said. “At the end of the day I am innocent. I was under the influence of abuse and was afraid to reach out to anybody. I was just scared.”
Lane will serve a one-year mandatory prison sentence on the firearm specification and an additional six-year minimum sentence on the possession of cocaine charge. She was ordered to surrender a firearm and cash totaling $5,440 to the West Central Ohio Crime Task Force.