Tilden pleads to violating terms of probation

Aug 11, 2017

Dillingham police found Mary Tilden was in possession of one dose of heroin during the July 29 drug bust on the F/V Andy O. At a hearing Wednesday, the possession charge was dropped in return for a plea to violating terms of her probation.

Credit Avery Lill/ KDLG

At her Wednesday hearing, 39-year-old Mary Tilden of Dillingham pleaded guilty to violating the terms of her probation by failing to complete the recommended substance abuse treatment program, committing a criminal misconduct and associating with a convicted felon. She was ordered to serve two months in prison.

Audio Transcript:

Tilden has been in custody since July 31. She was aboard the fishing vessel Andy O during a July 29 drug bust, and Dillingham police found one dose of heroin in her possession. That possession charge was dropped in return for a plea to violating terms of her probation.

Assistant district attorney Dan Doty argued with the support of probation officer Rex Spofford that Tilden’s probation should be terminated. That would mean she would serve 14 months in prison.

“I think that Ms. Tilden has indicated previously her strong desire to reject probation. Based on what I’ve heard from PO Spofford, she’s kind of had a change of mind about whether she wants to serve any time, but she also doesn’t seem to want to do treatment. I just recommend the court just impose the balance of the remaining time and close this case. I don’t think there’s any benefit for her continuing on probation,” said Doty.

Tilden has been under Spofford’s supervision for probation since March when she pleaded guilty to felony failure to stop at the direction of a police officer, as well as theft and trespassing. Law enforcement felt Tilden got off easy for a string of crimes, including a dangerous high speed chase on icy roads last fall. In June she entered treatment for drug addiction at Jake’s Place in Dillingham but left just five days later without completing the program. Spofford told the court that his conversations with Tilden and her violations demonstrate disinterest in completing her court-ordered supervised release.

“The district attorney has already identified that she has numerous prior convictions. The way I look at that, those are all chances for change, but the change was never in the form that she wanted. The options were never quite right. They were never quite what she was looking for. In fact, she said as much. The attitude that I see and the impression that I get based on 25 years in this business is that she doesn’t want to be on probation. What she doesn’t want is to be in jail. Five days at Jake’s Place. That’s not even trying,” said Spofford.

Tilden explained that she left Jake’s Place because of friction with staff and because she did not appreciate their style of treatment. She also stressed the difficulty she had finding any other treatment program with available space.

“Treatment is filled everywhere in the state of Alaska,” said Tilden. “I was told this by several places that their waitlists are up to a year... In the last two months I have taken steps to disassociate myself with people. I’ve talked to my family, and I’ve talked to my kids. I told them I’m probably to end up going away for a while. I terminated my relationship with Mr. Brito. I realized that was a toxic relationship. Basically, I’m ready to do this.”

Tilden’s attorney, Devin Morse, asked that her client be given 30 days jail time and be allowed to continue with her probation. Superior Court Judge Tina Reigh compromised, ordering Tilden to continue her probation after serving 60 days in jail.

“I’m hearing you say that you want help, and you don’t want this community to give up on you yet, and I think you deserve a chance. I think that has an appropriate amount of deterrence for both you and others, and, frankly, I think it’s the right message to the community. The underlying issue here is an addiction, and I don’t think simply giving up on folks is what this community wants.”

Reigh ordered that the jail sentence begin immediately following Wednesday’s hearing.

Contact the author at avery@kdlg.org or 907-842-5281.