Tuesday, April 10, 2001

Inmate's mom gets probation

Woman sentenced for bringing pot to prison

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — When Shirley Kerr hid packets of marijuana inside her bra and tried to smuggle them to her inmate son at the Warren Correctional Institution, the Fairfield woman tainted her spotless legal record.

        On Monday, it was the 61-year-old woman's clean record that spared her from joining her son behind bars for up to five years.

        Acknowledging Mrs. Kerr's past, Judge Neal Bronson, of Warren County Common Pleas Court, placed her on probation for two years.

        She had pleaded guilty in February to a charge of illegal conveyance of drugs into a detention facility.

        Mrs. Kerr was arrested at the prison outside Lebanon in November during a visit to her son, James B. Kerr, who has been serving a life sentence since 1985 for kidnapping, aggravated robbery and aggravated murder.

        In an affidavit filed with a search warrant, a prison investigator said Mr. Kerr wrote to his mother a week before the arrest instructing her to pick up the marijuana and deliver them on a Nov. 5 visit.

        Prison officials also tape-recorded a subsequent phone call between Mr. Kerr and his mother, the affidavit said.

        Investigators served Mrs. Kerr with the search warrant, and she pulled two ounces of marijuana from her bra.


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