NEWARK — Chad Williamson lost his job and was about to lose his house, when he and his wife started making methamphetamine for quick cash — a decision that cost them their home, freedom and custody of their teenage children.
Chad, 39, and Heidi Williamson, 37, last known address 53 S. Kasson St., Johnstown, were sentenced to four years in prison Wednesday after admitting to making methamphetamine at their former Burlington Township home. They would be eligible for early release in six months.
A man suggested the couple cook methamphetamine after Chad Williamson lost his job making cell phone towers and the family was about to lose their home, defense attorney Thomas Martello said.
Between Sept. 26 and Nov. 2, Heidi Williamson purchased sudafedrin from local pharmacies and Chad Williamson made the drugs at their home, 10115 Lafayette Road, in the vicinity of their teenage boys, Licking County Assistant Prosecutor Brian Waltz said. They made about $400, Martello said.
On Nov. 2, detectives with the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force found a gas tank of anhydrous ammonia, drain cleaner and other chemicals in their garage, Waltz said.
“The production of methamphetamine is an inherently dangerous activity,” Waltz said.
Both admitted to their roles in cooking methamphetamine. Licking County Children Services placed their teenage children with a relative.
“I made a huge mistake,” Chad Williamson said. “In a matter of two months, I lost everything.”
Waltz and Martello recommended a four-year sentence for each defendant. Waltz said he would not oppose early release after six months if their behavior in prison warranted it.
“They got a huge break here,” Licking County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Marcelain said.
On Wednesday, Chad Williamson pleaded guilty to one count each of illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs in the vicinity of a juvenile, a second-degree felony and illegal manufacture of drugs in the vicinity of a juvenile, a first-degree felony with a forfeiture specification.
Licking County Common Pleas Court Judge David Branstool sentenced Chad Williamson to four years in prison, suspended a $10,000 fine and suspended his driver’s license for one year. He also must forfeit guns found in the home.
“He’s shown incredible remorse,” Branstool said.
Heidi Williamson pleaded guilty to one count of illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs in the vicinity of a juvenile, a second-degree felony.
Marcelain sentenced her to four years in prison, waived a $7,500 fine and suspended her driver’s license for one year.
Relatives and friends asked Marcelain for leniency, saying their crime was motivated by tough times and they needed to be near their children.
Many people face foreclosures each year, but the Williamsons chose to commit a crime, Marcelain said.
“They took themselves away from their kids,” Marcelain said.