When a Georgia woman was found with what police officers thought was methamphetamine residue, she was arrested and thrown in jail. For days, she waited behind bars, as the pleaded for the officers to check the spoon with the residue on it again. And when they checked, they realized their error and set her free.
23-year-old Ashely Gabrielle was arrested and charged with the possession of methamphetamine or crystal meth. Gainesville officers pulled her over for a routine traffic stop and found the residue in her car. She told the officers that the residue was simply dried pasta sauce from a can of SpaghettiOs but they refused to believe her.
When they checked the evidence again, they realized the “meth residue” was only pasta sauce…
At the time, the police officers were not willing to listen to the woman whom they thought was carrying drugs. Although Gabrielle had no criminal history, they refused to double-check the evidence. Instead, they arrested her and locked the innocent woman up for days.
“I think she said it had been SpaghettiOs,” Hall County assistant public defender Chris van Rossem said.
Meanwhile, the police lab tested the residue on the spoon. When the scientist came back to the police department with the results, they had a sly smile on their face. Their tests had never come back with pasta sauce before.
“The Crime Lab report showed no controlled substances on the spoon submitted for testing,” Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lee Darragh admitted through clenched teeth. Darragh signed a dismissal and officially set the innocent Gainesville woman free.
Huff tried to fight the arrest. She knew she was innocent as she had never touched crystal meth before in her life.
“She’s maintained all along that there’s no way in hell that’s any sort of drug residue or anything like that,” van Rossem said.
She attempted to go through the Hall County Drug Court and fight the incorrect charge. But the court did not make her appointments.
But she was unable to make her bond payment and was reincarcerated on August 2. She then waited in jail for days while the public defender got his act together. And when he came on the case on August 11, he wanted her to make a plea deal – even though she had done nothing wrong. Luckily, the district attorney’s office dismissed the charges before he could have take the felony charge.
“I think what the unfortunate part about her case is that she was probably willing to take the felony to close out her case so that she get out of jail, even though she always maintained innocence,” van Rossem said.
After being freed from the false charges, Huff has remained out of the public spotlight. She wants to go back to life as normal before the police mistakenly threw her behind bars.
Do you think the police officers should have listened to her when she told them that it wasn’t meth but SpaghettiO’s?
What are your thoughts on innocent people getting locked in jail?
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