Drug sweep defendant back in court
By Susan Smallheer
STAFF WRITER | June 21,2013
Photo by Eric Francis
Amber White of Springfield, one of 33 people arrested in a drug sweep Wednesday, returned to court Thursday to face a charge of violating her conditions of release.
SPRINGFIELD — A 20-year-old Springfield woman — arrested on Wednesday as part of a regional sweep of alleged heroin and cocaine dealers — was back in court Thursday, charged with violating conditions of her court-ordered curfew.
Amber White of Bacon Street pleaded innocent to violating her conditions of release. She had been arraigned Wednesday on felony charges of selling heroin.
Springfield Police Chief Douglas Johnston said in an interview that White “stayed out all night partying,” an apparent violation of the condition that she observe a 24-hour home curfew.
White, whose boyfriend Matthew Neathawk, 25, was also arrested in the drug sweep, initially told police she returned home at “4 o’clock,” but she later admitted it wasn’t 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, but 4 a.m. Thursday, according to court records.
Springfield police wrote in an affidavit that White told them Thursday morning she stayed out all night at Freedom Park, a small public park near her home. She said she was “too upset” to go home and denied using drugs Wednesday night, police wrote. She told police the last time she used drugs was a week and a half ago, according to court records.
Police said White called them at 9 a.m. Thursday to report a custody issue involving her young daughter. It wasn’t clear from court records who was taking care of the child, although police were in touch with White’s mother, Carla, and the paternal grandmother of White’s baby, Wendy Fernett.
Springfield Officer Jeremy Fitzgibbons said he learned from Fernett that Carla White had texted her that Amber had not come home.
According to court records, White, Neathawk and a young child were all present during the alleged drug dealing in the parking lot outside McDonald’s restaurant in Springfield.
White pleaded innocent to two counts of selling heroin to a confidential informant, and one count of being an accessory to selling a narcotic. Neathawk pleaded innocent to one count of selling heroin and two counts of being an accessory to narcotic sales.
Upon the request of Deputy State’s Attorney David Cahill, White was rearrested Thursday morning and taken to court in White River Junction for another arraignment.
White was overheard in the court clerk’s office Wednesday sobbing and repeatedly saying, “We’re users! We don’t sell this (expletive). We’re users!”
Charlie Buttrey stood in as White’s defense attorney for her brief arraignment on a misdemeanor count of violating a court-ordered condition of release and entered an innocent plea.
“The parties have reached an agreement which is the same set of conditions upon which she was released yesterday with the additional condition that she provide the court with a $5,000 unsecured appearance bond,” Buttrey told Judge Robert Gerety.
The judge replied, “OK, we’ll note your ‘not guilty’ plea, ma’am, you are all set.”
White is barred from possessing regulated drugs without a prescription, must abide by a 24-hour curfew except for legal and medical appointments, and have no contact with Neathawk.
White told the court Neathawk is the father of her children.
Herald correspondent Eric Francis contributed to this story.