Woman sentenced after judge hears strong voices of support

By Nathan Kraatz - nkraatz@civitasmedia.com

WILMINGTON — A woman was sentenced to three years of community controls Tuesday for illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for manufacture of drugs and failure to appear. The sentencing came after the judge said others’ testimony convinced him to change his mind about sending her to prison.

“I wish you good luck, and I hope you’re successful,” said William B. McCracken, visiting judge of the Clinton County Common Pleas Court. “I was of the mind to send you to prison; however, listening to all the hard work you’ve done so far and the people who are supporting you changed my mind.”

That support came from three fellow churchgoers of Spangler’s.

Bryson Thompson, a former corrections officer and now assistant pastor at Bible Baptist Church, said he’s had constant contact with Spangler since she was released from jail.

“This is the very first time in the three years I’ve been a pastor at this church that I’ve ever come to court to speak on behalf of someone,” Thompson said. “I really believe that she has turned a corner. I know she needs help. We’re trying our best through the church to do that.”

Melanie Bryant, who works in the jail ministry of Bible Baptist Church, said she met Spangler in jail.

“She has not missed one service at church,” Bryant said. “She meets every week with one of our ladies there at church. Rebekah has also been in my home, so I trust her.”

Anita Cooper, Spangler’s employer, said Spangler has been a dutiful employee with a strong work ethic, and Cooper said she’s trusted Spangler to come into her own home.

Spangler, through tears, told McCracken that going to Bible Baptist Church was the first time she wanted to be in church and wanted to learn.

“I feel like I am home there,” Spangler said. “And I know that God’s got something in store for me.”

If Spangler violates the terms, she could be sentenced to 12 months of prison. The terms include a minimum of weekly probation meetings and a six-month suspension of Spangler’s driver’s license.

Spangler was also ordered to complete any treatment programs probation deems necessary.

Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.

By Nathan Kraatz