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Ex-Martinsburg councilman Idoni gets at least one year in prison

September 09, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Former Martinsburg City Councilman Frank L. Idoni was sentenced Monday to at least one year in prison for his role in delivering crack cocaine to a police informant.

Idoni, 51, appeared before 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III in a wheelchair, with a breathing tube supplying him with oxygen, and was sentenced on one felony count of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance.

Silver order a one- to five-year sentence for Idoni, and said the state Division of Corrections could accommodate all of the medical needs that his attorney, Mark Sutton, presented during the sentencing hearing.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gregory Smith said Idoni would be eligible for parole after serving at least one year in jail.

Silver said the 23rd Judicial Circuit's chief probation officer concluded in a presentencing report that Idoni was not a good candidate for home confinement or probation, because the crack cocaine delivery in October 2006 occurred at Idoni's home at 112 Union Ave., when he was on probation for another criminal case.

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"Probation is a grace, not a right," Silver said.

Sutton said Monday that since his arrest in 2006, Idoni had to have his right leg amputated after complications, including a MRSA infection that followed knee surgery. Sutton also noted Idoni had broken his hip and that all of his teeth will have to be removed as a result of taking "heavy" medications that have caused them to deteriorate. The oxygen tube is needed to counter the effects of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and Idoni needs help getting out of bed, Sutton told the judge.

Idoni agreed in April 2005 to resign his council seat as part of a plea agreement that allowed him to avoid serving the one- to 15-year jail sentence ordered by Judge David H. Sanders, and he was placed on probation for five years. At that 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.

Because of Idoni's latest conviction, Sanders is expected to sentence Idoni for violating the terms of probation in the 2005 case.

Police said Idoni twice sold a Fentanyl patch to a police informant in January 2005, but his first brush with the law while on City Council came in October 2004 about four months after he beat Ward V councilman Glenville Twigg by four votes in the municipal election. Police said that he punched and spit on a teenager who he felt was driving too fast through his neighborhood, according to court records.

Shortly after the election, police said Idoni was seen by several people walking up and down his neighborhood at night carrying a baseball bat, yelling at people and making threats.

Idoni's sentencing Monday comes six days after co-defendant Cyrus W. Painter, 26, received a one- to 15-year sentence after entering a guilty plea to delivery of a controlled substance (crack cocaine).

The remaining felony counts in an October 2007 indictment against both Idoni and Painter were dismissed.

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