Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

July 10, 2013

Woman gets 8 months for leaving halfway house

Kenneth Hart
The Independent

ASHLAND — A woman who walked away from an Ashland halfway house less than two months ahead of her scheduled release date rather than face the consequences of a positive drug test will have to serve an additional eight-month prison sentence.

Mika Ross of South Point was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning on a charge of escape, to which she pleaded guilty.

The eight-month term will run consecutive to Ross’ previous sentence for aiding and abetting the distribution of crack cocaine, on which she is now scheduled to be incarcerated through Nov. 29, according to court documents. She will also have to serve a three-year term of supervised release after she gets out of prison.

Ross was sentenced to 44 months in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia in November 2011. After spending a year at the Federal Correctional Complex in Alderson, W.Va., she was transferred to the Transitions Inc. halfway house on 29th Street to finish serving her sentence until her scheduled release date of May 10, records state. She remained under the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons during her time at Transitions.

On March 14, Ross learned she had failed a drug screen administered the previous day, which likely would result in her being sent back to prison, so she left the halfway house without permission that evening. She fled the facility on foot. Staff members chased her, but were unable to catch her.

Ross remained on the run until March 26, when she voluntarily surrendered herself to the U.S. Marshal’s Office in Huntington, records state.

According to a sentencing memorandum filed on Ross’ behalf by her attorney, Michael Campbell, Ross completed the BOP’s 500-hour substance abuse treatment program prior to being assigned to Transitions. She entered the halfway house with a “very positive attitude,” but relapsed because of “the constant presence of addiction triggers which were inescapable in her environment,” he wrote.

Ross is lodged in the Carter County Detention Center.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.