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Wheeling man dozes off in court and doesn't get 'a break'

Updated: Thursday, September 4 2014, 06:08 PM EDT

WHEELING, W.Va.--

A Wheeling man is sentenced from one to 10 years in prison for a felony entering without breaking, but he could have got a break.

Derek Rice was released from jail and was to report to a drug program, however, police say he choked his girlfriend and threatened her life.

Rice also fell asleep during his sentencing claiming he'd been up for two days worrying about the case.

Ohio County Circuit Judge James Mazzone ordered Rice to take a field sobriety test and he failed. Rice also allegedly admitted to deputies he uses Valium and marijuana the night before.

Rice apologized to the court on Thursday.

"I am sorry is all I can say and I wish I could take it back," said Rice.

Ohio County Assistant Prosecutor Brian Ghaphery said Rice was given a chance.

"He made the assurance to his girlfriend you're going to die tonight and it happened less than 24 hours from him being released from incarceration to participate in a drug program," said Ghaphery.

Rice's attorney says he struggles with mental and drug issues. They originally asked the court for help.

Defense attorney Meagan Kechner said Rice has drug and mental issues that need addressed.

"I think he understands the error of his ways and that this particular felony was caused because of a drug addiction," said Kechner.

Officials said he is facing another charge of domestic battery for the alleged choking incident.

Wheeling man dozes off in court and doesn't get 'a break'


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