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Woman pleads guilty to aiding juveniles

JohnsonStephaine

STEPHANIE JOHNSON

The last of three females charged with transporting a trio of escaped juvenile offenders pleaded guilty Monday before Logan County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark S. O’Connor.

Stephanie Johnson, 31, of Bellefontaine, pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing justice, a third-degree felony.

She admitted to giving a ride to Caleb Jacobs, Danny Ellis and Devante Smith after they beat a corrections officer and escaped from the Logan County Juvenile Detention Center.

Ms. Johnson, along with Stormi Kiser — another female charged with helping the escapees — returned to a residence at 217 S. Park St. on the evening of March 6 and found the boys there. The women took Caleb to Tim Horton’s where he met up with the third female, Catherine Sine.

Ms. Johnson and Ms. Kiser took Danny and Devante to the Indian Lake area where the boys allegedly stole a car and fled south before they were captured near Cincinnati.

Ms. Johnson was indicted for complicity to escape and two counts of obstructing justice.

Prosecutors and defense are recommending a 90-day local jail term and community control when the defendant is sentenced Dec. 31, following a presentence investigation.

Ms. Sine is currently serving 90 days in jail and Ms. Kiser is currently housed at the West Central Community Based Correctional Facility.

Possession of drugs nets probation

Keith Brown, 32, of 205 S. Madriver St., was sentenced to five years’ community control, a one-year license suspension and was ordered to pay a $250 fine and court costs for possession of drugs.

As part of the probation, the defendant will be monitored and must undergo treatment for drugs and alcohol.

The charge stems from a Nov. 4, 2010, traffic stop in which Mr. Brown was found to be in possession of several grams of heroin.

He told law enforcement at the time he would purchase the drugs for $300 and resell them locally for $500.

This case actually predates a 2011 offense in which Mr. Brown did eight months in prison for trafficking in heroin.

Not long after his release from prison in the summer, he was indicted on the two-year-old charge.

Judge O’Connor cautioned the defendant to fair better on community control than he has previously.

“You haven’t done well on supervision before,” the judge said, “and you need to do better (on community control) than you ever have before, otherwise you’ll be doing the year (in prison.)”

Mr. Brown acknowledged that he started smoking marijuana at age 14 and uses it every day. He has incurred prior felony convictions in Logan and surrounding counties.

“I’m sorry for my past behavior, but I’m trying to turn my life around now,” Mr. Brown said before adding that he’s currently pursuing his GED at the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center.

Trial date set for man charged with neglect

Mr. Brown’s sentencing hearing was interrupted halfway through in order to conduct a teleconference to establish a trial date for a man accused of neglecting his elderly father.

 MillerJamesR

MILLER

James R. Miller, 44, of 1294 Campbell Drive, waived his right to a speedy trial and will be tried Feb. 20 and 21 on charges of fourth-degree felony assault with notation that the crime involved an elderly person; fifth-degree felony failure to provide care; and first-degree misdemeanor domestic violence.

The conference was done on the telephone because the defendant’s attorney, Javier Armengau, was in Long Island helping his elderly mother recover in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Mr. Armengau said over the phone he discussed with his client the possibility of continuing the trial date because he wasn’t going to be able to work a two-day jury trial into his schedule before the Dec. 31 deadline.

Mr. Miller was hesitant to waive his speedy trial date, asking the judge if the waiver could later be undone.

“Well, that would be hard to undo once we get past the Dec. 31 deadline,” Judge O’Connor said.

The defendant also thought waiving his speedy trial right might get him released from jail sooner.

“I assume because I’m giving up my rights I’m going to be released from jail soon,” he said.

Mr. Armengau said he’s working with his client on alternative housing, because he legally can’t return to his father’s residence where he lived.

“When you get that worked out, we can schedule a bond hearing,” the judge said.

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