In looking only at Eugenia Shelton’s criminal record, she deserves to go to jail, possibly to state prison, said Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Francis J. Fornelli.

That rap sheet includes Mercer County convictions of retail theft, conspiracy to commit possession of cocaine with intent to deliver and delivery of a noncontrolled substance.

But, Ms. Shelton’s record does not tell her whole story, he said.

The charge of retail theft she pleaded guilty to in December, for stealing items from a Sharon rug store, is the only mark on her record since the previous retail theft conviction in 2005.

Ms. Shelton, 49, of 417 New Castle Ave., Sharon, said she is a long-time crack cocaine addict, but has been clean since her son was born in 2003. Her son is in the custody of Mercer County Children and Youth Services, and she must submit to daily urine drug tests as part of her attempt to regain custody of the boy, she said.

Ms. Shelton also attends church and is being treated for mental health issues.

Her latest trouble started when she broke an ankle — she needs to have surgery — and a friend stole from her, she said. She found herself unable to cope with the stress, she said.

“I didn’t think, I just reacted,” Ms. Shelton said Friday.

She said she knows she needs to handle stressful situations better.

“I’m learning that, even though I’m 49,” she said.

Fornelli said he was willing to work with her. He put her on 3 years’ probation and ordered her to pay costs and $130 restitution.

“You did do well for a long time and I’m relying on that because you’ve showed me you can do that,” Fornelli said, adding that he wants Ms. Shelton to be in her son’s life.

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