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Former employee admits to taking over $90,000

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - A former employee who stole over $90,000 from a local restaurant will serve six months in the county jail and must pay restitution.

Jolina M. Morrison recently entered a guilty plea on the charge of theft by unlawful taking over $10,000.

During her sentencing hearing, attorney Rebecca Murrell asked that her client be allowed probation; however, Circuit Judge Rodney Burress said he would not accept that plea.

Instead, he agreed to an alternate plea where Morrison would serve six months in jail with the rest of the five-year sentencing being probated. That probation would last much longer as it would be in place until the entire amount of the restitution is paid.

Burress overruled requests for home incarceration and work release.

Under terms of the agreement, Morrison has restitution of $71,000 to pay. She immediately paid $2,000 and must pay $200 per month. Any state or federal tax refunds received must go directly to pay for restitution.

She must also perform 250 hours of community service.

Morrison was an employee at the Tumbleweed in Hillview. According to general manager Jeana Huffstutler, Morrison was actually on a team to reduce waste in food costs and inventory.

She was concerned that probating the defendant would be no real punishment.

Ed Cecil, one of the owners, said he really didn’t believe the company would ever see all of its money. The thefts accounted to over $300 a night for a year’s time.

He wanted to be forgiving but he wasn’t sure any lessons would be learned and Morrison would return to the same habits.

In the bigger picture, if other employees see that Morrison could get away with it, they might try the same thing, he said.

During her statement, Morrison said she had to take the money and give it to her boyfriend. Otherwise, she feared physical harm.

She was also afraid that her mother and sister, both of whom work at the restaurant, might lose their jobs due to her actions. No action resulted against either.

Prosecutor Mike Ferguson said probation was the original recommendation but the defendant then changed her story and blamed the boyfriend for creating pressure to take the money.

In other cases:

*Christopher Breitenfield was sentenced to 10 years for complicity to manufacturing methamphetamine.

Burress supported prosecutor Nick Raley’s objection to probation.

*Larry G. Woolet was sentenced to 10 years for manufacturing methamphetamine.

Attorney Fred Partin asked that his client be allowed to serve one year and then be probated for the rest. He would seek admission into the Bullitt County Drug Court program.

Commonwealth attorney Michael Mann opposed probation.

*Donnie Lee Kinimonth entered a guilty plea on the charge of burglary.

He would receive a one-year sentence that would be diverted for three years.

Final sentencing would be Aug. 1 and he would be required to pay restitution of $580 within 10 days of that date.

*Amanda Maraman - entered guilty pleas to a series of charges.

She would serve five years with that being diverted for five years. Maraman would also be responsible for restitution of $100 per month until the total of $4,050 is paid by herself or her co-defendant.

She entered pleas on charges of theft by unlawful taking over 4500, complicity to burglary and theft by unlawful taking over $500.

Maraman, 19, of Lebanon Junction, would complete the New Beginnings substance abuse treatment program by next January and would then begin paying restitution.

Final sentencing was set for Aug. 1.