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Former Martinsburg council member pleads guilty to drug charge

July 01, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A former Martinsburg City Council member entered a guilty plea Monday to a felony count of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance (crack cocaine), nearly four years to the day that he took the oath of office.

Frank Leonard Idoni, 50, of 112 Union Ave., is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 8 by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III.

Silver will decide whether to sentence Idoni to prison as part of an agreement that Berkeley County assistant prosecuting attorney Gregory V. Smith reached with defense attorney Mark Sutton.

A felony count of delivery of a controlled substance in Idoni's October 2007 indictment was dismissed.

Idoni was on probation for a previous drug-related felony conviction when police said in October 2006 that the former Ward 5 councilman took part in an illicit deal with a police informant, according to court records.

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Idoni agreed in April 2005 to resign his council seat as part of a plea agreement that allowed him to avoid jail time.

Idoni entered a guilty plea to one count of delivery of a controlled substance and a no-contest plea to an unrelated battery charge and was placed on probation for five years, according to records.

The drug charges initially were filed against Idoni on Jan. 21, 2005, after he twice sold a Fentanyl patch to a police informant, police said. Idoni's first brush with the law while on City Council came in October 2004, when police said he spit on and punched a teenager who he felt was driving too fast through his neighborhood, according to court records.

In court Monday, Idoni listed the Fentanyl patch as one of several medications he was taking for his apparent deteriorated physical condition, which has left him wheelchair-bound.

Idoni, whose right leg was amputated, told Silver on Monday that he was fully disabled.

Sutton reassured the judge that he did not believe his clients' medications, including one for a bipolar disorder, affected Idoni's ability to understand the circumstances of Monday's proceeding.

Smith said after the hearing that the state's case against Idoni's accomplice in the October 2006 drug deal also was on the verge of closure.

Cyrus W. Painter, 26, who was Idoni's roommate in 2006, last week entered a guilty plea to delivery of a controlled substance (crack cocaine), according to court records.

The other two counts of Painter's indictment, conspiracy and delivery of a controlled substance, were dismissed as part of an agreement to testify against Idoni, according to a pre-plea order signed by Judge Silver.

Smith said the state's exhibits for a possible trial for Idoni included a digital scale, two glass crack pipes, numerous pieces of Brillo pads, a metal knitting needle with "white residue," a spoon and a Styrofoam bowl that contains residue, according to court records.

Painter is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 2.

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