A Hodgenville teen, facing more than a decade imprisonment if convicted as charged in October with aiding a Motel 6 methamphetamine cook, broke into tears of joy Wednesday after a sentencing deal offered her a break from jail.
Jessica Miller, 18, was arrested with three people in their 20s on Oct. 10 after Greater Hardin County Narcotics Task Force agents say someone tipped them off to an active meth lab inside a first floor bathroom of an Elizabethtown Motel 6.
Miller confessed Dec. 17 to 9th Circuit Court Judge Ken Howard to buying pseudoephedrine, Drano and salt for two men cooking methamphetamine at the motel. She also admitted to smoking the stimulant with one of the men earlier the same day.
In exchange for her testimony, a five-year sentence on her guilty plea to facilitating the manufacturing of meth was diverted.
If Miller avoids criminal charges for the next few years, she ultimately could have the conviction expunged from her record.
If she fouls on conditions of the diversion or fails to show up for formal sentencing, she could face up to 10 years in prison.
Miller’s alleged first-encounter with meth resulted in her spending the past two months in the Hardin County jail. Her bond had been set at $75,000 – too much for parents to come up with.
Considering time served, her apparent ignorance of what she had contributed to and the magnitude of an active meth lab, Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Shaw told Howard he was “willing to give her the offer.”
Still donning an orange jail jumpsuit, Miller burst into tears as she signed the deal making her release possible.
Miller’s parents weren’t in court for the deal, but Mirkin said their absence stemmed from a last-minute notice of the negotiation’s result.
Miller was released from jail that afternoon.
Three others involved, Racquel “Kelly” Renee McConaha, a 29-year-old Vine Grove resident; Joseph Earl Hendricks II, a 22-year-old Hodgenville resident; and Jerry Jenkins, a 29-year-old, still face sentences of 10 years or more if convicted of the Class C felony of manufacturing meth.