AUBURN — An Auburn man admitted Thursday to selling the controlled substance oxycodone in Auburn, likely avoiding a maximum nine-year prison sentence.
Vernon Symonds, 33, sold the painkiller on two separate occasions, on Aug. 29 and Sept. 27 of 2018. "I met somebody. They gave me some money. I gave them some oxycodone," he said. In an earlier proceeding prior to his plea, Symonds said he sold the oxycodone of an older woman he was taking care of.
Symonds will serve five years on probation with some length of incarceration in the Cayuga County Jail. But Leone didn't decide yet whether Symonds will spend six straight months in jail or serve weekends in jail for four months.
His incarceration will depend on the pre-sentence report, his criminal history and the status of his employment. Symonds also asked if he'd be able to keep up some visitation with his children.
"If you come clean and tell me what you did, we'll work with it," Leone said.
Leone let Symonds leave the court for four hours to consider the deal, which wouldn't be extended past that day. When he returned in the afternoon, defense attorney Joseph Sapio said his client was ready to move forward with the plea.
By pleading guilty to two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, class B felonies, Symonds avoided the maximum prison sentence of nine years in prison.
Senior Assistant Cayuga County District Attorney Brittany Grome Antonacci detailed his criminal record. In 2016, Symonds was convicted of the misdemeanors of second-degree criminal contempt, third-degree forgery, endangering the welfare of a child and fourth-degree criminal mischief — all from separate incidents.
He currently resides in Chapel House in Auburn. Even though he was on a two-week suspension from work, Symonds wasn't able to get his affairs in order to start serving jail time that day.
His sentencing is scheduled for April 30, and Leone also ordered him to pay $55 in restitution for the drug sale money.
Symonds was again released on his own recognizance, after Leone warned that he won't be bound to the promised sentence if he doesn't show for sentencing.
Staff writer Mary Catalfamo can be reached at (315) 282-2244 or email@example.com. Find her on Twitter @mrycatalfamo.
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