Idol's Sierra arrested again

The pop hopeful, who is on probation, is accused of drug possession.

By RODNEY THRASH, Times Staff Writer
Published December 2, 2007

TAMPA - Last month, a Hillsborough Circuit judge spared former American Idol contestant Jessica Sierra.

Gregory Holder withheld guilt and sentenced Sierra, 22, to a year's probation on charges of battery and possession of cocaine. He warned her that if she violated the probation, she could get prison time.

Just 13 days after that warning, the fallen pop hopeful is behind bars, in an Orient Road Jail cell without bond.

Tampa police Lt. Ron McMullen said officers asked Sierra to leave the Full Moon Saloon shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday. She became physical and argumentative with saloon patrons and the friends who tried to calm her.

She tried to push away and flee the Ybor City bar before officers arrested her and charged her with disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest without violence. Sierra also was charged with violation of probation for felony battery and possession of cocaine.

"She was extremely inebriated," said McMullen, who didn't know Sierra's blood-alcohol level at the time of arrest.

It has been a long fall for Sierra, who made the Idol top 10 in 2005.

Tampa police arrested her in April after she threw a cocktail glass at a patron of a Hyde Park Cafe.

Two months later, a local rental car company said Sierra kept a vehicle 12 days beyond its due date without paying the bill.

Recently, she seemed to be turning her life around. A reality series that follows Sierra and eight other celebrities through detoxification and treatment will premiere on VH1 in January.

Last month, after Holder's warning, her defense attorney told the St. Petersburg Times that Sierra would head to California to continue drug and alcohol treatment. On Saturday, he couldn't explain much of anything, including why his client was in Tampa on Friday.

"I've just heard about this arrest," said John Fitzgibbons. "I don't have any details."

Rodney Thrash can be reached at 813 269-5303 or rthrash@sptimes.com.