Prison for treatment center runaway

Published 9:18 pm Monday, March 17, 2014



A Washington woman given a chance to beat her addiction by the court two months ago will now serve her original sentences after an escape from Black Mountain Substance Abuse Treatment Center for Women.

Vivian Joy Hester, 32, walked out of the treatment program without notification on Feb. 7, after only three weeks in attendance, according to Hester’s defense attorney Keith Fox. She was later picked up by Greenville Police, and at the time, was under the influence of Zanax, Fox said.

Second Judicial District Attorney Seth Edwards said he’d been told Hester claimed she walked out of the center because she’d been sexually assaulted. Fox said Hester told him an investigation into the matter was ensuing, but he had not had the opportunity to confirm the claim, as it was first mentioned Monday morning before court.

Regardless of the reason why Hester left the program, that she did not contact her probation officer, nor any other official, led Superior Court Judge Marvin K. Blount to find that she willfully violated the conditions of her probation. Blount ordered Hester’s probation revoked and the underlying sentence — three consecutive active sentences — invoked, a total of 21 to 54 months in the North Carolina Department of Corrections.

In January, after the state offered Hester a plea arrangement, Blunt handed down an active sentence for a breaking and entering and larceny charge; two more for several drug possession charges and a sentence of 45 days for a DWI charge. He ordered a stay of execution for the breaking and entering and larceny charge, contingent on Hester completing the Black Mountain program. The others were suspended.

At the time, Assistant District Attorney Tom Anglim asked in return for the plea arrangement that should Blount assign Hester to the program, “If she doesn’t successfully complete it, she gets every day she’s entitled to.”

Monday, Blount reiterated the point.

“I think it was very clear back in January what the terms and conditions were and you were given a chance to go up there to Black Mountain and straighten up your life,” Blount told Hester.

Hester declined to address the court.