MADISON — A man caught with methamphetamine and psilocybin mushrooms last month in Norfolk was sentenced to prison on Friday in district court.
Donald Nolin, 48, was sentenced to 18 months in prison by Judge Mark Johnson following a plea agreement in which Nolin admitted guilt to possession of methamphetamine. Nolin had an additional count of possession of psilocybin mushrooms dismissed by the prosecution.
Nolin, represented by Matthew Headley of the Madison County Public Defender’s Office, agreed to proceed with sentencing following his guilty plea.
It was a swift march through the courts for Nolin, who was arrested on Aug. 3, a month before his sentencing.
On that date, Norfolk police officers were dispatched to the 300 block of East Norfolk Avenue, where it had been reported that a male was sitting against a house for about two hours and hadn’t moved much.
The owner of the house Nolin was leaning against had come out and informed officers that he did not know who Nolin was, according to court documents.
Nolin told officers they could retrieve his wallet from his back pocket to find his identification. Nolin’s name was given to dispatch, which confirmed Nolin had an active Douglas County warrant for felony drug possession.
During a search of Nolin, police located a gray zipper pouch that contained a plastic baggie with a white substance inside. The substance field tested positive for methamphetamine.
Also found inside a backpack of Nolin’s was a baggie inside a sunglasses case that contained a substance that field tested positive for psilocybin mushrooms.
In court Friday, Nolin admitted he has a drug addiction problem. He had gone through a lengthy period of sobriety before he began using again in 2018, he said.
“Your honor, it’s taken me a long time to realize that I have a problem,” Nolin told Johnson. “Most of my criminal history is from my 20s, and then I got back into drugs in 2018. I’m a drug addict; I have a problem, and I realize that.”
Nolin took responsibility for his offense and told the judge he would seek treatment — both in prison and once he is released.
Nolin said he had been through treatment before, and he’s ready to commit to getting help again.
“My main goal is to achieve sobriety,” he said. “The easier part is going to the department of corrections; the hard part is not doing (drugs) again.”
Matthew Kiernan, deputy Madison County attorney, referenced Nolin’s “extensive” criminal history, which includes convictions for burglary, failure to appear and weapons and drug offenses. Some of those convictions came in Colorado, Texas and Michigan, he said.
At the time of his August arrest, Nolin was amid an 18-month Douglas County probation period, according to Kiernan. An 18-month prison sentence would be appropriate considering Nolin’s history and his struggles with probation, Kiernan said.
Per the plea agreement, Headley also recommended an 18-month sentence for Nolin, asking Johnson not to exceed that recommendation.
Headley asked Johnson to note that Nolin had been “very cooperative” with officers at the time of his arrest.
“When we’re dealing with these types of people who are using drugs, they can become violent and resist,” Headley said. “That wasn’t the case here; he was cooperative with the officers, and that’s something that should be given credit to him. He wasn’t breaking into anybody’s house or anything like that.
“His comments are clear. He’s showing he understands that he’s got a problem.”
Johnson gave Nolin credit for 32 days served, so Nolin must serve 9 months less 32 days in prison before his mandatory release.
ALSO sentenced on Friday was 37-year-old Megan Harris of Lincoln, who had been convicted of attempted tampering with evidence.
Harris was sentenced to 58 days in jail and was given credit for 37 days served. Because of “good time” rules, Harris had already served her entire jail sentence and was eligible for immediate release.
She was involved in a November 2020 incident in Norfolk in which she was the passenger in a vehicle with two men who were found to have meth in their possession.
When law enforcement was conducting a search, one of the men, whom Harris said she did not know, handed her a baggie of meth and asked her to hide it from authorities.
Harris initially concealed the baggie but later complied with authorities, Headley said in court on Friday.
Joe Smith, Madison County attorney, had asked Johnson to give Harris a “moderate” jail sentence.