You may remember the story of Keri Blakinger, the Cornell student who was arrested in Ithaca this past December in possession of six uncut ounces of heroin. In a month littered with Ivy League drug scandals, Keri’s arrest was the most legitimately shocking of the bunch. Some reports at the time estimated that the Blakinger haul was worth $150,000 dollars. (That figure was later corrected; the stash would apparently fetch somewhere between 50- and 100k on the open market.)
Anyway, the bust caused a whole lot of hubbub way back when. But since the initial burst of information, basically no new particulars came to light, until now. Lancaster Online — a publication that covers Blakinger’s hometown in Pennsylvania — has released an interesting article that represents the first original journalism done on the case in nearly three months. So, what do we know?
Well, info on the actual bust is still foggy. For instance, there’s no word on where Keri got the smack. Nor, why she was carrying so much with her on the night of her arrest. Or, for that matter, why the hell she was carrying it around in a Tupperware container.
The most interesting bit of information actually concerns Blakinger’s life before Cornell. We’d heard rumblings back in December that Keri had been a competitive figure skater. As much was even reported off-hand by the Ithaca Journal (although the article in question seems to have been removed from the paper’s website). We weren’t able to trace back the source of the rumor or independently verify it on our own, so we never published the information. But now we know: Keri Blakinger was a burgeoning figure skater with Olympic ambitions.
According to the LO article:
[Blakinger] was named to the 2001 Chevrolet/United States Figure Skating Association Scholastic Honors Team. During a skating career that lasted several years, she placed first at the 2000 South Atlantic Regional Championships in the Novice Pairs division with partner Mark Ladwig. [Editor’s note: The picture at the top of this article was taken of Keri in 200o.] In 1994, after winning the gold medal in beginner freestyle skating at the Keystone Winter Games, Blakinger — then only 9 years old — expressed a desire to compete in the Olympics.
The report goes on to list a whole spate of accomplishments like “Young Poets Award” and “Spanish National Honor Society.” She used to be a Girl Scout! All of this stands in startling juxtaposition to the facts now at hand.
(As an aside-slash-disclosure: Keri and I both worked at the Cornell Daily Sun from Fall 2008 until Spring 2010. While I never knew her well, I at least remembered her as an engaged and passionate member of the paper. You could see a glimmer of the gregarious girl described in the Lancaster article. And, even at Cornell, Keri was on the Dean’s List multiple times. While I did recall her as an odd character, it’s still mind-boggling to consider how events transpired last December.)
Anyway, back on track. To wrap it up, the article sheds some light on Blakinger’s fate. According to the report, Keri has been living in jail since her arrest. On February 24, she plead guilty to criminal possession of heroin with intent to sell in the third degree. This was a step down from the original charge, second-degree possession. The plea reduces the amount of time she’ll be required to spend in jail — probably 2 1/2 years of hard time, as opposed to at least 3 1/2 under the earlier charge. She’ll be officially sentenced on April 8th.
It doesn’t seem like there’s a whole lot left to say at this point. Just a very sad story on the books.