“The community needs to be protected from drug dealers. It will not be tolerated in this county.”
By Lisa Pett
For the third time in as many weeks, a man appeared in a Portage County courtroom to face sentencing for 2nd degree reckless homicide after being convicted of providing drugs that resulted in an overdose death.
Milton Smith, 25, was sentenced to 17 years, with seven years of initial incarceration followed by ten years of extended supervision for his role in the death of Jessica Newby on May 10, 2012.
Newby, who would have turned 30 in July, died of an overdose after she and a friend purchased heroin from a man staying in Wisconsin Rapids who was later identified by police as Smith.
Assistant District Attorney David Knaapen requested a 20-year sentence with seven years of incarceration and 13 years of extended supervision based on a pre-sentencing report indicating Smith “minimized his involvement in the crime and showed little regard for the affect that the illicit drug trade has on a community.”
Smith’s criminal record is extensive and stretches back to when he was a juvenile in Chicago. He moved to Oshkosh in 2008, where he was convicted of manufacturing and distributing cocaine. He is currently serving that sentence in the Green Bay Correctional Institute.
In his request for the state, Knaapen said, “It [the drug trade] stops by us telling the people who manufacture and make these drugs available that this is the price they will pay for selling drugs in this community.”
ADA Knaapen read an impact statement to the court from Newby’s sister detailing the loss and pain the family suffered as a result of Smith’s actions.
Defense attorney John Bliss highlighted Smith’s tragic upbringing and a childhood spent surrounded by illegal activity which resulted in his early entrance into the criminal justice system. He said his client is ready and sincere in his desire to make a change and to take responsibility for his actions.
Smith addressed the court, apologizing to Newby’s family and to the community.
In handing down the sentence, Judge John Finn urged Smith to take advantage of his time in prison in order to get an education and to gain some job skills.
“He has a history of selling drugs and committing crime. Until he gets an education and skills, he will be a danger to the public,” said Finn. “The community needs to be protected from drug dealers. It will not be tolerated in this county.”