Auto burglar, addict gets chance at redemption


Alexis Overing with defense attorney Mark Williamson in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court (Photo by Faith Lifer, SDN) 

By: 
Faith Lifer
Staff Writer

A young woman who pleaded guilty to two counts of automobile burglary on Thursday will receive another chance at turning her life around.  

Alexis Overing, 21, was indicted on eight counts of automobile burglary and one count of possession of a stolen firearm on June 29, 2017. 

The indictment states Overing burglarized the automobiles in a 7-day period from Feb. 24 to March 2, 2017. Overing was 17 years old when she attended college, and she had completed two and a half years when she was arrested. After the charges were levied against her, she had the potential of receiving up to seven years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine for each of her two counts. 

Instead, Circuit Judge Jim Kitchens gave Overing five years of non-adjudicated probation with a fine of $500 for each count, along with restitution in the amount of $475. Kitchens gave Overing a plan to pay her fees of $75 a month beginning Sept. 15. Overing is prohibited from consuming alcohol or visiting any bar or nightclub during her probation period. Judge Kitchens also expects Overing to remain in a sobriety community and to talk to young people in schools and churches about her experiences. 

After Overing was arrested, she went to a detox center for 45 days due to her strong addiction to Xanax. Since then, Overing has graduated from four rehabilitation facilities in an 11-month period, and she has been sober for 16 months. By the time Overing was arrested, she was addicted to Xanax, cocaine, meth, pain pills and marijuana. Overing started using drugs when she was 15 years old. 

The rehabilitation facility Overing attended in California hired her after she completed her program, making her the first patient to be hired at the facility. Overing is currently the sole female enrolled in a landing school in Maine for naval architecture, focusing in yacht design. Overing received a $10,000 scholarship to attend the school. She starts her program on Sept. 5. 

“The addictions she had, being arrested saved her life,” Overing’s attorney, Mark Williamson, said.
 
In court, Kitchens asked Overing how she felt. 

“Ashamed. Honestly I’m blessed with everyone I’ve come across since I’ve gotten clean,” Overing said as she held back tears. “I’ve learned more in the last 16 months of my life than I had the previous 19 and a half years.” 

Kitchens related to Overing’s college experience. He came to Starkville in 1981 to attend college and was suspended for a year in 1983. 

“I see the path that you were headed down. And it was not a good path,” Kitchens said. “Just because you messed up doesn’t mean you can’t straighten out and help somebody.” 

Kitchens now talks to youth about his bad decisions when he was young to warn them against the same path. 

“How do yo stop young people from trying the drugs that get a hold of their lives,” Judge Kitchens asked. “I know that stuff can hook you the first time you try.”

Judge Kitchens knew and mentored a young woman who was on her way to law school at the University of Mississippi, when she went home to Jackson for the summer and found her old pill supply. She overdosed on the pills, leaving a three-year old boy behind. 

“What’s kept me clean, is people who are raw and genuine about their stories,” Overing said. “It gives you a clear depiction of how people can completely change.”

“The power in a story, I’ve seen it change people’s lives. I think just being honest and open and genuine about everything you’ve done—not ashamed, but take it as a learning lesson—use that negativity and turn it into positive strides to your future,” Overing said. “That’s what helped me, and I believe it can help others.” 

The state retired Overing’s remaining counts of burglary and possession of a stolen firearm based on her guilty plea for the first two counts. 

Overing’s co-defendant will appear in court today. 

In other Oktibbeha County Circuit Court cases

• Ivie Nath asked Oktibbeha County to re-enter into her 16th District Drug Court treatment program on July 26. Judge Lee Howard set aside the termination of Nath from the program.  Nath was indicted on two counts of automobile burglary in Jan. 2017. The indictment states Nath burglarized the car of Karen Dabbs on May 27, 2016 and Nath burglarized the car of Belinda Oliver on May 26, 2017. Nath pleaded guilty to two counts of automobile burglary on July 26, but the court did not accept Nath’s guilty plea in favor of Nath entering into a treatment program. However, Nath was terminated from her treatment program and placed back on the active docket on May 29, 2018.  If Nath successfully completes the program, which can last up to five years, her case will be dropped and her record will be expunged. “You don’t run off because you’re scared,” Howard said. “Face up to it. Get it over with. Make it a bad dream, but you do that in about three years.”

• Eddie Robinson pleaded guilty to cocaine possession on July 26. Judge Lee Howard accepted Robinson’s guilty plea. Robinson was indicted with possession of cocaine in an amount greater then two grams, less than 10 in June 2017. The indictment states Robinson was in possession of cocaine on Dec. 21, 2016. The cocaine was found in the dash of his car when he was arrested for suspicion of DUI. Columbus Crime Lab confirmed the substance found was 5.12 grams of cocaine. Assistant District Attorney Marc Amos recommended Robinson serve four years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with two years suspended for post-release supervision. Judge Howard accepted the Amos’ recommendation and fined Robinson $1,000, which may be paid $75 per month 60 days following Robinson’s release. 

• Jason Stevens did not appear for open court, for the third time, on July 26. The state’s motion will be granted for Steven’s case. A bench warrant will be issued for his immediate arrest and no bond will be set for Stevens. Stevens was indicted with five counts of commercial burglary on Jan. 2018. The indictment states Stevens burglarized the storage units of five people between June 11 and June 28 of 2017.

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