Couple who avoided jail for drugs are arrested again


HANCOCK COUNTY — From the beginning, deputy prosecutor David Thornburg thought a couple involved in a near-fatal drug overdose in a Greenfield motel room in 2017 should be sent to prison.

In the end, Thornburg might get the outcome he sought. The couple, who had entered the county’s work-release program as part of a plea agreement, have been arrested again on new drug charges.

Grant Hoefener, 33, Indianapolis; and his wife, Crystal Lee, 28, Anderson, who is also referred to as Crystal Hoefener in some court documents, were back in Hancock County Circuit Court this week to face their latest issues before Judge Scott Sirk.

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According to a probable cause affidavit, Hoefener is accused of providing Lee with pills she had not been prescribed, bupropion, a generic form of Wellbutrin. He would leave the pills in her vehicle, and then she would sit in the parking lot of Hancock County Community Corrections and snort the pulverized pills, a probable cause affidavit said.

There are also questions as to how Hoefener was getting the prescription pills since Hoefener had many more pills — 189 Gabapentin pills and 522 bupropion pills — than he had been provided through prescriptions.

Buproprion is an antidepressant; Gabapentin is an anti-convulsant medication used in treating epilepsy. It also is used to treat nerve pain.

“One of the rules of being part of community corrections is they have to turn in all their medications and prescriptions,” Thornburg said. “Hoefener had a bunch of pills that just were not accounted for.”

After first lying, Hoefener finally admitted to probation officials he had given his wife the pills, but said he did so because she didn’t have insurance and was out of the pills she needed, the affidavit said. Lee did have a prescription for buproprion, and its use was supervised by community corrections. But that prescription had run out in August, the affidavit said. The additional pills were discovered on Sept. 24.

Lee at first told officials she didn’t know the medication was hidden in the vehicle but later admitted to snorting the crushed pills in her car and said the pills calmed her down faster. She also admitted her husband had placed the pills in her vehicle for her use very recently, the probable cause affidavit said.

In June, Hoefener received a six-year sentence for a Level 5 felony charge of possession of methamphetamine and for four Level 6 felonies. He was to serve a total of five years: 2½ years on work release and 2½ years on home detention. One year of the six-year sentence was suspended.

Lee received a nine-year sentence for a Level 3 felony charge of possession of methamphetamine, a Level 6 felony and a misdemeanor. She was to serve one year on work release; two years on home detention; and six years on probation.

Thornburg had originally asked the court to make the couple spend at least some time in prison, while the county probation department recommended the community corrections program.

The court picked the more lenient sentence, and Hoefener and Lee were given a chance to prove they wouldn’t be a danger to themselves or the community.

The two have a pretrial hearing on Oct. 24 and then a fact-finding hearing on Nov. 21. Both defendants are being held in the Hancock County Jail without bond pending the outcome of the hearings.

In October 2017, Hoefener almost died from a drug overdose. Lee, who was then his girlfriend, called 911 to report Hoefener was unresponsive and turning blue. When police arrived at the motel where they were staying, they discovered the room was littered with illegal drugs and paraphernalia.