Lawyer: Mom caught with drugs should keep child

By Valencia

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Robert F. Ruplinger and Katherine Okelley Wood, both 22, stood side-by-side as they went before Judge Linda Lombard in bond court.

Police say the two had nearly 500 grams of marijuana and thousands of containers of carbon dioxide in their home. To make matters worse, the couple's 10-month-old daughter lived among the drugs. {}

"What I'm impressed with is marijuana floating all over the apartment," said Judge Lombard to the couple's attorney.

The two face drug and unlawful conduct toward a child charges. Still, attorney Daniel Prenner says the child will be safe in the mother's custody.

"Judge, she's 22 years old. She has no prior criminal record," said Prenner. "Her father was the editor of the Wall Street Journal. He is now an editor for Voice of America, which is evidently an international news agency."

Prenner says although there were drugs in the home, there were never drugs in the child's room.

Attorney: "This is one area of the house and perhaps the only area of the house where you will not have any breach into this room."

Judge: "There's marijuana across the hall in the bedroom. That's in the warrant."

Attorney: "I can't deny that, judge."

Police say they found drugs in the freezer, under the coffee table, in the bedroom closet, in the living room, basement and trash can.

Prenner insisted Katherine was a good mom.

"She doesn't use drugs. She's been nursing since last thanksgiving," said Prenner. "I know that she's doing right by the child except for this huge, huge lapse of judgment."

Ruplinger also faces four prior drug charges.

Both Ruplinger and Wood are being held in the Charleston County Detention Center.