A woman in Portland, Oregon was sentenced today to two years in federal prison Tuesday on a drug conspiracy charge after she passed her inmate boyfriend seven balloons of meth through a kiss and he died. Melissa Ann Blair, 46, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Marco Hernandez to also complete three years of probation, drug treatment, and mental health programs.
Blair was visiting her boyfriend, Anthony Powell, at the Oregon State Penitentiary June 2, 2016, when she passed transferred the drugs to him through a kiss. Powell was serving a life sentence for aggravated murder for stabbing his mother-in-law. It was at the end of the visit that the kiss took place and the seven balloons were transferred. Two of the balloons ruptured in his stomach killing him from methamphetamine toxicity according to prosecutors.
Judge Hernandez said, "It was tragic and sad but he shares responsibility for what happened." Blair says she felt coerced by Powell and that she had used meth but wasn't addicted. Blair's attorney, John Ransom, argued that despite being behind bars he still had full control of her. "It was a very Svengali-type situation where he had total control over her life," he said."
Another woman said in a witness impact statement that she had a developed a relationship with Powell over a 12 year period after he had written her husband and she replied instead. The woman was Brandy Pokovich and she said she believes Powell felt remorse for his crime, "Now, because of the choices that were made, I no longer can pick up the phone and hear his voice, I can't go on a visit and see his big cheesy smile and get the best hug in the world."
"He was not just an inmate. He was a very loved and cared for the person who had a family that would always be there no matter what," Popovich said. She later said outside of court that she had helped Powell find girlfriends from behind bars by using her social media accounts and introduced him to Blair, to begin with.
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