One of four women accused of having methamphetamine in the Rock Island County Jail has been found not guilty after a bench trial.

April Sanders, 35, Davenport, was found innocent of possession of contraband in a penal institution during a Monday bench trial before Judge Frank R. Fuhr, according to Rock Island County court records. The charge stemmed from allegations that she and the other women had and shared meth on their cell block on April 5.

The other three women were Chelsea Ehlts, 36, Lowden, Iowa; Tawny Phelps, 28, Sherrard; and Carly Baguss, 27, Davenport, according to court records. Each was also charged with possession of contraband in a penal institution, and Phelps faced three additional charges of delivering methamphetamine. She was accused of initially having the drugs and distributing them to the others.

Though Sanders was found innocent of the jail possession charge, she pleaded guilty to methamphetamine possession in a separate felony case. She is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 4. Her plea was listed as open in the court records which means there was no deal on the table when she did so. 

Of the other three women, Baguss has been accepted into an alternative court program designed to address drug addiction, Catherine L. Runty, the assistant state's attorney assigned to the program, said.

As part of that program, defendants plead guilty to the charges then participate in a regimen of oversight and treatment, Runty said. The program takes about 24 months to complete, and, if the defendant successfully does so, the charges are dismissed.

Phelps pleaded on June 4 to the count of possessing contraband in a penal institution, according to court records. Her plea resulted from a deal with prosecutors, records state. As part of the negotiation, the three charges of delivering methamphetamine filed against Phelps were dropped.

She was sentenced at the same hearing to four years in an Illinois Department of Corrections prison, records state. It was unclear from the court record whether she received any credits to her sentence.

On July 11, Ehlts also pleaded guilty to possession of contraband in a penal institution, according to court records.

Ehlts entered her guilty plea as part of a negotiation with the Rock Island County State’s Attorney’s Office. She was sentenced at the same July 11 hearing to 24 months probation and 90 days in the Rock Island County Jail, with credit for time served and day-for-day credit.

That sentence is consecutive (the two sentences must be served one after the other, not at the same time) to that in a separate drug case concerning an incident in February. She also received 24 months probation and 90 days in that case, again with day-for-day and time-served credits.

Those credits frequently cut a defendant’s incarceration to half of the listed sentence or less.

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