A Long Island mother who admitted selling the prescription painkiller oxycodone in her suburban community has been sentenced to more than two years in prison.
Joanne Connelly, 49, made a tearful plea for leniency in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, explaining that she had become hooked on the painkiller after suffering a back injury.
"I am so very sorry for what I have done," she told Judge Sandra Feuerstein through sobs. "I have hurt my family and feel terribly ashamed for that."
Connelly, who lives in Nesconset pleaded guilty last August to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, a narcotic used to treat moderate to severe pain.
Her attorney, James O'Rourke, had pleaded for her to be sentenced to home confinement, saying that a prison sentence would have a negative effect on her two adolescent sons. He also noted that her husband, Gerard Connelly, is suffering from an undisclosed medical condition.
But the judge appeared to have little patience for the pleas, becoming exasperated when O'Rourke explained that Joanne Connelly had been taking as many as 10 oxycodone pills daily.
"Ten pills a day? For herself?" the judge asked. "Ten a day?"
The judge sentenced her to 26 months in federal prison.
When Connelly was arrested in January 2011, prosecutors said that while she enjoyed the trappings of suburban life she was actively selling the painkillers in her Long Island neighborhood. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Ott said at the time that Connelly had attempted to sell the drug to an undercover agent shortly after dropping her children off at school.
Connelly is believed to have received the pills from physicians. Ott told the judge an investigation into that aspect of the case is ongoing.
Ott declined to comment to reporters after Wednesday's sentencing.