GOSHEN — An Elkhart woman expressed disbelief as she was taken out of the courtroom in handcuffs Thursday to finish the 12-year sentence she received for dealing meth in 2012.
April Trosper, 48, was ordered to immediately start serving the rest of the six-year suspended part of her sentence after she admitting to violating the terms of her probation by testing positive for meth. She also tested positive for meth on a rapid drug screen taken during her court hearing.
“Am I going to prison?” she asked as a court security officer placed her under arrest. “For how long?”
Circuit Court Judge Michael Christofeno told her she would remain behind bars until she completed Recovery While Incarcerated, an intensive addictions treatment program. He said he would modify her sentence if she did that and remained free of conduct violations.
“I don’t know if you’re going to do that or not, but I don’t have other alternatives,” he told her. “I gave you more opportunities than anyone because I wanted you to succeed.”
Trosper was originally charged with dealing methamphetamine as a Class B felony in July 2011. She was sentenced to six years in prison and six years on probation after pleading guilty the following year.
She described herself as a functioning addict, able to act as a supervisor at her job despite her addiction. She said her latest probation violation was the result of a relapse, which started after she was prescribed painkillers following a recent surgery.
“I ran back to the one thing I knew worked,” she said. “I have the ability to say no, but I say yes.”
After she admitted to the probation violation, Christofeno first indicated he might extend Trosper’s probation. Elkhart County Deputy Prosecutor Don Pitzer then asked that she be made to take a rapid drug test before he weighed in on her punishment.
She expressed confidence that she would pass. Pitzer characterized her statement as a lie after she failed the test.
Trosper said she had taken meth a week earlier, but Pitzer expressed doubt that it was that long ago, saying that the drug only stays in your system for 72 hours.
Trosper and her attorney, Mark Doty, tried to find some alternative to going back to prison. She said she feared losing her job and her home.
Doty suggested that work release, with weekly drug testing requirements, would provide the accountability she needed. He said combining that with therapy would impose some form of punishment while also engaging her in meaningful addictions treatment.
Trosper expressed frustration with the fact that she had been in addictions recovery programs before but nothing seemed to stick.
“I’m gonna be 80, still searching for meth,” she remarked.
Christofeno voiced his own frustration as well.
“The court is frustrated. You were doing well, both you and I thought you had kicked it,” he said. “I want to make it so you’re not still searching for meth at 80.”