Heather Travnicek, Minot, sentenced to 30 days in jail, probation, community service for intent to deliver heroin, meth
Heather Anne Travnicek, 37, Minot, was sentenced on Friday to three years in prison, with all but 65 days suspended, for Class B felony intent to deliver heroin on May 7.
Judge Doug Mattson gave Travnicek credit for the 34 days she has already served in the Ward County Jail and ordered her to serve the remaining month or so in installments over the next 18 months. Travnicek will be required to report to the jail for the first stint of her sentence at 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and remain there until Dec. 1. She will also be required to serve time in the jail from Dec. 26-Dec. 30, Jan. 17-Jan. 20, 2020; July 24-July 31, 2020; Nov. 26-Nov. 29, 2020; and May 3-May 7, 2021. Mattson remarked that Travnicek will not be attending the North Dakota State Fair next year and he made May one of her reporting dates because it is the anniversary of her arrest on the charge.
Mattson also ordered Travnicek to complete 100 hours of community service by Dec. 31, 2020. He also gave her what he acknowledged is an “unusual” sentence of sitting in on Drug Court once a week and making a quarterly report about what she observes to her probation officer.
In addition, Travnicek must pay court costs.
Mattson sentenced Travnicek to 360 days in jail, all suspended for two years and consecutive to the first sentence, for Class B felony possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine. That offense will be reduced to a Class A misdemeanor on her record if she successfully complies with all conditions, but the intent to deliver heroin charge will remain a felony on her record. Mattson also sentenced her to 360 days in jail, all suspended but 36 days, for Class C felony possession of drug paraphernalia. That sentence is concurrent with the sentence on the intent to deliver heroin charge.
Travnicek has completed inpatient treatment for her drug addiction and has been at a transitional living center, where she is doing well, according to her lawyer, Ashley Gulke. She is also receiving treatment through a local methadone clinic.
“I’ve done everything that I can to turn my life around in the last six months,” Travnicek told Judge Mattson at her sentencing hearing.
Travnicek, who is a single parent, hopes to continue working and caring for her children.
Mattson noted that Travnicek has a strong support system and sought treatment, which puts her in a better position than some of the people he sees who are charged with similar offenses.
However, Mattson also said that Travnicek’s actions gave “validity” in the community to her co-defendant, Jemelle Antoine Thompson, 38, who was sentenced last month to three years in prison for Class B felony delivery of heroin and Class C felony counterfeiting. Thompson, who is from Muskegon, Mich., has a long history of drug dealing offenses and is an “unsavory person,” according to Mattson.
According to court documents, Thompson was staying at the Guest Lodge in Minot and gave Travnicek two grams of heroin that she was supposed to deliver to an address on Golden Valley. The arresting officer also found an accounting sheet for the drugs in Travnicek’s purse, a digital scale with suspected drug residue and two packages containing methamphetamine in a bag in the rear passenger area.
A Ward County Narcotics Task Force officer had been conducting surveillance at the Guest Lodge in Minot and saw Travnicek drive into the parking lot and park in front of the main doors. A few moments later, Thompson came out of the building and got into the passenger seat. Travnicek drove around the south side of the building. When the car appeared again on the north side of the building, Thompson was no longer in the passenger seat. The Narcotics Task Force followed Travnicek’s car to the residence on Golden Valley and stopped her. Travnicek began crying that she could not go back to jail when she was stopped. The officer received permission to search her car from Travnicek’s probation officer and the search turned up the drugs and paraphernalia.
Travnicek has a past criminal record. She served 300 days in jail for her part in robbing a man at a hotel in January 2017 and for later throwing a burning cigarette in the face of a police officer when she was arrested in February 2017. She was still on probation for those offenses when she committed the new offenses in May. The B felony robbery charge and the C felony assault on a police officer charge would have been reduced to A misdemeanors if she successfully completed probation. The robbery might have started out as a drug buy. Travnicek was charged along with her ex-husband Jarrod Henderson and co-defendant Nicholis Backman.
Henderson has been described in court as abusive and was also ordered to serve a sentence for terrorizing Travnicek in addition to sentences for other crimes. Travnicek received a lighter sentence than the two men, who were both ordered to serve about four years in prison in connection with the crime, due to her limited criminal history and because she had been a victim of Henderson.
Mattson said he wishes that Travnicek had taken advantage of the availability of treatment before she committed the new crimes.
He said he was ordering the jail time to be served at different periods over the next 18 months in order to remind Travnicek of what her future will look like if she messes up.
Mattson also lamented that the state Legislature has not provided adequate funding for treatment and said there is a real need for a regional treatment facility in Minot for women who have high needs and often also have family obligations.