A Medford man was sentenced Friday in Jackson County Circuit Court to 30 months in prison for stealing medication from his handicapped girlfriend.

A Medford man was sentenced Friday in Jackson County Circuit Court to 30 months in prison for stealing medication from his handicapped girlfriend.

John Christopher Hopkins, 30, of the 700 block of West Fourth Street, was convicted of first-degree criminal mistreatment in a jury trial earlier this month — and given the maximum available sentence for his crimes by Judge Ron Grensky on Friday morning, said Deputy District Attorney Michelle Pauly.

The 34-year-old female victim, who wrote a private letter to Grensky and did not attend the sentencing, suffers from physical and mental handicaps. She and Hopkins were in a relationship for 10 years, and he was her caregiver, living off the victim's disability income, she said.

Instead of caring for his girlfriend, Hopkins stole her medications and denied her relief from pain — even after the victim had surgery on both feet last November, Pauly said.

"He told police he was taking half of her muscle relaxers and up to 12 Vicodin a day," Pauly said.

Hopkins attended the victim's medical appointments so that she could not speak freely about her concerns. When her doctor finally refused to write any more prescriptions, the woman called a local disability advocacy group.

When the advocates began investigating the victim's case, Hopkins' crimes came to light, Pauly said.

The victim testified at trial that "on a scale from 1 to 10, her pain was a level 9," said Pauly.

Grensky said he was unmoved by Hopkins' courtroom apology. Saying Hopkins took advantage of a physically and mentally disabled person, preying upon her like she was a child, Grensky ordered that Hopkins not be eligible for early release.

"(Hopkins) took advantage of someone who is a member of our most vulnerable segments of society," Pauly said.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.