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Baltimore Sun
Psychiatrist, veteran sentenced in Towson ‘molly’ lab case
By Alison Knezevich
March 9, 2015

Psychiatrist Priscilla Sheldon-Cost

Psychiatrist Priscilla Sheldon-Cost

In what a Baltimore County judge called “one of the oddest drug cases I’ve seen,” an Ivy League-educated psychiatrist and an Army veteran were each sentenced Monday to six months in jail after prosecutors said they ran a “molly” lab in their Towson home.

Priscilla Sheldon-Cost, 51, and Thomas Ronald Joyave, 53, both pleaded guilty in January to one count each of drug conspiracy and one count of drug possession. Prosecutors dropped other narcotics charges.

Circuit Judge Kathleen Cox told Sheldon-Cost and Joyave they were unlike most defendants she sees in drug distribution cases, as neither had prior criminal records.

In June 2014, county police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided the couple’s home on the 700 block of Walker Ave., where prosecutors allege they were manufacturing the club drug “molly,” also known as MDMA, a psychoactive drug that can have stimulant and hallucinogenic effects.

Assistant State’s Attorney Jason League said hundreds of capsules commonly used to package the drug were found at the home, indicating the drug was not just for personal consumption.

Sheldon-Cost, who attended Yale and Johns Hopkins universities, worked as a psychiatrist before the state suspended her medical license in 2012, according to her attorney, Charles L. Waechter. He said that for decades, she suffered from chronic depression — at one point receiving electric shock therapy. She wanted to know whether MDMA could treat her illness, he said.

A third defendant in the case, Vincent Mark Ricker, 24, pleaded guilty in January to a drug-conspiracy charge and a drug possession charge and was sentenced to 18 months on home detention.

Sheldon-Cost told Cox that “some very bad decisions led to my involvement” in the lab.

“I am really, really sorry,” she said. “And I know that what I did was wrong, and I made lots of bad decisions. But my intent was never to get involved in this.”

Joyave’s attorney, Joel Denning, told the judge his client served honorably in the U.S. Army before working jobs in the fields of motorcycle mechanics, computers and construction. Regarding the conspiracy charge, Denning said Joyave “wasn’t really involved in it, but he was living there.”

Joyave told the judge he wanted to take responsibility.

Cox sentenced Sheldon-Cost and Joyave each to five years, suspending all but six months. That will be followed by three years of supervised probation.

Priscilla Sheldon-Cost