LIMA — A Lima woman who earlier this year sought to rescind her guilty plea to two drug-related criminal charges because of alleged threats to her life was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison.
Vyctoria Walters, 22, told Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed immediately prior to sentencing that her legal journey has been “one big learning experience for me … but what ya gonna do?”
Walters was indicted in August of 2020 on a single count of aggravated possession of drugs, a felony of the second degree with a firearm specification attached, along with a third-degree felony count of possession of a fentanyl-related compound. In May of this year she entered into a deal with prosecutors that called for her to plead guilty to a second-degree felony count of aggravated possession of drugs and an amended count of possession of a fentanyl-related drug, a fourth-degree felony.
She failed to appear for her sentencing hearing, however, claiming to have been scared for her life after being forced into accepting the plea deal. In August her attorney filed a motion asking the court to allow Walters to withdraw her previous guilty pleas.
During an October hearing surrounding that motion, Walters testified that she feared for her life after being told her failure to accept the deal from prosecutors would result in a bullet to her head.
Defense attorney Kenneth Rexford said the threat was made by James Long, also known as “Grandpa,” who currently is an inmate in the state prison system on charges out of Defiance and Auglaize counties.
During the October hearing a friend, Amy Simon, testified thaat she believed Walters’ life was in danger if she dragged Long into her case. Simon testified that Long thought Walters “was snitching and that threats were being made. I let (Walters) know she needed to be careful and that Grandpa wanted her to keep her mouth shut.”
In a written ruling denying Walters’ motion to rescind her plea, Reed said the woman’s reasons “are not believable and there is no credible basis to determine that the defendant was perhaps not guilty or had a complete defense to the charges.”
Reed said Walters’ claim of innocence was, in his opinion, “nothing more than the defendant’s change of heart about the plea agreement.”
The judge said statements made by Walters and other witnesses during hearings were often contradictory and overall were “less than 100% credible.”
Reed sentenced Walters to two years in prison on the second-degree felony charge and ordered the forfeiture of a handgun and $645 in cash to the West Central Ohio Criminal Task Force. An 18-month prison sentence on the fourth-degree felony was ordered to be served concurrently.