Palisade mother in case of meth, home squalor avoids prison time

Kerry Hawkins

A Palisade mother of four children who was arrested for dealing methamphetamine out of an Iowa Avenue apartment with her children nearby was sentenced Friday to serve 10 years in Mesa County Community Corrections.

Kerry Kathleen Hawkins, 25, who at one point faced habitual-criminal charges, with three prior felony convictions, could have been sentenced to prison Friday by District Judge Valerie Robison.

“I’m going to give you that one shot,” Robison told Hawkins after a roughly 10-minute emotional plea from Hawkins not to be sent to prison.

Robison said the lengthy community corrections term would be “the safest sentence for our community in the long run, at least potentially.”

A Mesa County probation official expressed skepticism about Hawkins’ ability to successfully complete the sentence, noting Hawkins just last month submitted a positive sample for meth during a court-ordered drug test.

Hawkins and her husband, Nathan Saffer, 29, were arrested in October 2011 after selling a little less than 2 grams of meth to a police informant as the couple’s daughters, ages 3 months and 2 years, were nearby at 951 Iowa Ave., Unit 7.

The informant, who wore an electronic recording device during the drug sale, told police that both girls were in the same room at the time of the sale, according to an arrest affidavit.

A “loaded” syringe was observed by the informant on top of a television set.

When Hawkins and Saffer were later arrested in a traffic stop, officers recovered more meth from a diaper bag Hawkins had been holding.

Officers who searched the Iowa Avenue apartment described the residence as “not fit for humans to reside in,” with trash littering a bedroom and kitchen, along with numerous bags of trash and a trash can holding several inches of growing mold.

Aside from an assortment of other filth, including broken glass on a dresser close to where an infant slept, there were no clean clothes for the children.

Saffer was sentenced to eight years in prison in connection with the case.

Hawkins pleaded guilty to distribution of a controlled substance, as well as forgery in a separate, unrelated case. Hawkins forged a check at a local Walmart, while officers were able to track her down because she wrote her own cellphone number on the check, Gordon Gallagher, Hawkins’ attorney, told the judge.
“She’s never been particularly clever about her crimes.”

Hawkins has a third prior felony conviction for possession of meth.


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