By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Sheridan drug dealer avoids prison sentence

Michelle Spittles
Michelle Spittles

Michelle Spittles, instead of facing a 50-month prison sentence, walked out of the Yamhill County Courthouse a free woman last week.

The 29-year-old former Sheridan resident now living in Willamina pleaded guilty earlier to two counts of first-degree child neglect and one count of delivery of a controlled substance/heroin within 1,000 feet of a school. The drug charge is a Class A felony and the child neglect charges Class B felonies.

All are related to Spittles' arrest in early November 2018 when the Yamhill County Interagency Narcotics Team served a search warrant on a Southwest Madison Street residence in Sheridan, and targeted Spittles, a mother of two small children, who were located in the home at the time. She acknowledged dealing drugs out of the residence.

Circuit Court Judge Ladd Wiles agreed to a downward dispositional departure - reduced sentence - and opted not to send Spittles to prison. She had cooperated with the prosecution and has participated in inpatient treatment, factors that were taken into consideration by Wiles, who sentenced her to 30 days in jail. With credit for time served, she has completed the term. She now begins a 36-month probationary period.

Two counts each of possession of a controlled substance/heroin and methamphetamine and endangering the welfare of a minor, in addition to one count of delivery of a controlled substance/meth within 1,000 feet of a school were dismissed as part of a plea agreement between Deputy District Attorney Michelle Enfield and defense attorney Mark Pihl of McMinnville.

Wiles made it clear to Spittles she received an extremely favorable plea deal, and any violation of her probation, which includes completing parenting classes, could result in her going to prison for as long as four years.

Spittles told Wiles she wanted to thank the state for the manner in which the case was resolved.

Pihl characterized his client as a "turnaround case," and said Spittles has been a drug user for more than 10 years and probably was going to either wind up dead or in prison if she didn't take the necessary steps to help herself.

He cited the treatment Spittles has undergone as proof she wants to live a drug-free life, which will help her possibly secure custody of her children who currently live with a relative. The state Department of Human Service is monitoring their well being.

Wiles said facts of the case were egregious. He noted drugs were being sold out of the home, the residence is located just a short distance from Sheridan High School and two children under the age of six were present when drug deals were going down.

"There are risk factors in your life," Wiles told Spittles.

Three other individuals, including Spittles’ brother, were also taken into custody.

They were:

* Zachary Spittles, 27, of the same Madison St. residence, on three counts of possession of weapons by certain felons, two counts of felon in possession of a firearm and one count each of possession of a controlled substance/hereoin and meth. The firearm possession charge is a Class C felony. The other charges are Class A misdemeanors.

Tillamook County warrant hold had been placed on him at the time, but he is out of custody and is scheduled to go to trial on the charges at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17.

* Kenneth Robert Wirth, 26, of Tillamook, lodged without bail on Lincoln, Tillamook and Washington County warrant holds.

* Benjamin Franklin Worden, 58, of Portland, lodged without bail on Lincoln and Multnomah county warrant holds.

Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Herr gave this account of the search warrant in a probable cause affidavit:

When Michelle Spittles was contacted, two clear plastic baggies were found hidden in her clothing. One bag weighed about three grams and contained what appeared to be meth. The second bag weighed about six grams and contained what was believed to be heroin. She admitted those were the contents of the bags.

Spittles said it was her intent to sell the drugs and she was preparing to go to McMinnville sell the meth when the search warrant was carried out. She admitted to be actively involved in dealing drugs, some from the residence, located just east of the high school. 

The defendant said she sold drugs from the residence the night before the search warrant was carried out. Spittles said she dealt a “ball” of meth - about 3.5 grams, according to authorities. She provided her cellphone to authorities and messages were viewed. They included conversations with others for the purpose of obtaining drugs from Spittles.

She admitted using meth while her children were present, but said she and the children were in separate rooms. However, she said she had smoked meth in her bedroom, where the children frequently sleep. She also said the children have been home about 20 percent of the time during which she has been purchasing or selling drugs.

Heroin, marijuana, meth and drug paraphernalia were located in a bedroom occupied by Zachary. Ammunition was also seized, and under the mattress, laying on the box spring of the bed, were two handguns. One had a fully-loaded magazine and was inside a leather holster.

In addition to the firearms, an automatic knife and combination stun gun-flashlight were found, as well as a butterfly knife.

The Spittles siblings have extensive criminal backgrounds in Clatsop, Polk, MultnomahTillamook and Yamhill counties, according to court records.

Both have open cases unrelated to last November's arrests.

In early July of this year, Zachary was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance/heroin and meth resulting from a McMinnville traffic stop. He is taking the felony case to trial in mid-December.

His sister was charged in June of this year in Polk County with one count each of second-degree criminal mischief and fail to perform the duties of a driver when property is damaged. The misdemeanor case will go to trial starting Friday, Sept. 13.

Comments

myopinion

Good luck missy! You have been given a second chance, YOU CAN DO IT!!!! Take are of those babies...........they need you.

Lulu

Those babies are doomed by their despicable mother and the entire Spittles clan's DNA.
And, myopinion, bear in mind she can do it; she simply doesn't want to.

actionjax

Vote out Ladd Wiles what a useless pig of a judge. Obviously this bleeding heart liberal judge knows nothing about addicts, addiction or recovery. I normally don't agree with Lulu but on this one I agree 100%.

macgreg

What a joke ,your family ,your children ,your spouse,any one who used the drugs that this drug dealin POS allowed out on to the streets arent victims,they are users.Take care of those babies,you bet.Oh she will .This state legalized drug use ,allows people to things that was unheard just a few years ago.This judge is just lockstep in the states new use laws.The real fallout is yet to come .

Treehouse

actionjax, macgreg,
please bear in mind that in any plea agreement in lieu of trial the sentencing judge is acting in consideration of the recommendations of both the defense attorneys and the prosecutor.

Like it or not, our criminal justice system relies heavily on the cooperation of the accused in exchange for favorable recommendations from prosecutors. Remove that from the system and you and I and every other taxpayer in the county will be paying a lot more for courts and trials and prison beds than we do right now. Which leaves a lot less money for investigations, arrests, and opiate addiction treatment.

It's an epidemic and the economics are all grim no matter how you slice it. Every case and every accused is different. And it's hard to know from a mere recitation of the court record what the best choices are. But I'm at least confident that our county prosecutor and Circuit Court Judge are more familiar with the issues than most of us.

Bill B

So Mr. Tree Man; Is your opinion the same on this situation; "Woman's alleged attacker taking case to trial"

Treehouse said; "Like it or not, our criminal justice system relies heavily on the cooperation of the accused in exchange for favorable recommendations from prosecutors. Remove that from the system and you and I and every other taxpayer in the county will be paying a lot more for courts and trials and prison beds than we do right now. Which leaves a lot less money for investigations, arrests, and opiate addiction treatment."

This is exactly the problem with the way our criminal justice system is being managed today.We are worried about costs (and work) rather than seeking justice. Sad.

Lulu

Why can't the trashy Spittles family relocate--and take the worthless Duck family with them?

Treehouse

Bill B,
When you say "We are worried about costs (and work) rather than seeking justice" I could not agree with you more.

In most jurisdictions in the United States our criminal justice system is an overwhelmed machine, being operated and maintained by basically decent people with mostly good intentions whose efforts are sadly but by necessity mostly focused on keeping the gears turning smoothly. If you or a loved one are unlucky enough to be pulled into those gears you will learn this soon enough.

I'd venture to speculate that most criminal prosecutors, including the prosecutor who recommended this plea agreement, would dearly wish to have more time, and more resources to spend focusing on "justice" instead of efficiency.

But I'll go further and speculate that career criminal prosecutors have a better grasp of where the fine line dividing justice and efficiency lies when compared to the rest of us.