Dewaylyn Colvin, 31, said he entered the illicit world of illegal drug sales at age 13 as a means of supporting his family.
The result of that decision has landed him in prison for 11 years on drug-related charges.
Colvin, who has been incarcerated previously for involuntary manslaughter and other drug offenses, pleaded guilty to three counts of trafficking in drugs, possession of drugs, illegal possession of a weapon and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. The guilty pleas were part of a plea deal with prosecutors.
Colvin, with his attorneys, Scott Cochran and Neal Atway, appeared Wednesday for sentencing on the charges before Judge Lou A. D’Apolito of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Colvin painted a picture of desperation for the court, saying he was left to care for an ailing mother and several younger siblings when he was 13. He said even after a period of time in prison beginning in 2005, money and family issues forced him back into the life of a drug dealer.
“I felt like I has to do what I had to do to help them get by. ... I turned to what I knew best,” he said. “I have great remorse. I don’t blame anyone else. I take full responsibility for what I have done.”
Martin Desmond, an assistant county prosecutor, said the story presented to the court is questionable. He said Colvin claims the drug deals were just to support his family, but he was riding around in luxury cars and looking to make as much money from his criminal enterprise as any other drug dealer.
“This is an individual who is not dealing in small amounts of drugs, these are large amounts of drugs in which he is dealing,” said Desmond. “He has no remorse for this.”
There also is the matter of Colvin’s lengthy criminal history, which includes disorderly conduct, drug charges and a murder that was amended to man-slaughter. Desmond said the charges are part of a criminal enterprise in which Colvin was a key player.
Colvin did have two members of the clergy speak on his behalf — his father, the Rev. Sherwood Jackson, and the Rev. Greg Maturi of St. Dominic Church on the South Side.
Colvin was instrumental in leading prosecutors to the man responsible for killing an elderly woman in the St. Dominic Church parking lot. Police arrested a man who ultimately was proven innocent after Colvin and another man came forward with information about the actual killer.
Father Maturi asked the court to show leniency on Colvin since he was instrumental in bringing closure to the church and victim’s family in the highly publicized murder.
Judge D’Apolito asked the priest if he believed Colvin came forward strictly out of the goodness of his heart. Father Maturi said he could not answer that question.
The Rev. Mr. Jackson, who lives in North Carolina, asked the judge for leniency on his son, saying Colvin has the chance to start over. He said Colvin has a job waiting in his bail bonds business if released from prison.
“I am getting older, and I need him. I need him to help run the business,” he said.
Judge D’Apolito asked Mr. Jackson where he was during Colvin’s formative years. The clergyman told the judge he was in North Carolina working and did the best he could for his children here.