Created on Tuesday, 04 December 2012 Written by NATE SMITH
5 sentenced, 4 plead Monday
Contradicting prosecutors’ recommendations, Judge Mark S. O’Connor ordered a defendant to prison Monday in Logan County Common Pleas Court.
Steffan Whetsel, 22, of Bellefontaine, was sentenced to two years in prison for burglary, a second-degree felony.
The charge comes from a July break-in involving Mr. Whetsel and another defendant, Tyrell Artis, 20, of Bellefontaine. The men burglarized a residence at 816 Heritage Drive, Apt. 4, armed with a baseball bat and Taser.
Both defendants were indicted on charges of aggravated burglary and a misdemeanor charge of assault.
Last month, a jury convicted Mr. Artis of burglary based in part to testimony provided by Mr. Whetsel on behalf of prosecutors.
In exchange for the testimony, the state recommended at an Oct. 31 plea hearing community control sanctions and no prison time.
Judge O’Connor said that Mr. Whetsel has no prior felony convictions, but currently owes about $734 to Bellefontaine Municipal Court for “numerous traffic offenses.”
The defendant will be eligible to apply for judicial release after 30 days.
“Whether or not that’s granted depends on how you use your time while you’re in there,” Judge O’Connor said.
The judge also denied a request by defense attorney Dan Bennett to grant his client a furlough before he begins his sentence.
“He didn’t come here expecting to go to prison today,” Mr. Bennett said.
Car chase with police lands two-year sentence
Randall Bolen, 30, of Urbana, was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay restitution and court costs for failure to comply with a lawful order, a third-degree felony and menacing by stalking, a first-degree misdemeanor.
When police responded to a residence at 808 Euclid Street the night of May 30 to arrest the defendant for violating a no contact order, he fled the scene and led officers from four departments on a multi-county chase that didn’t end until he crashed his car into a utility pole along County Road 1 near Kanagy Road in Champaign County and brought down the power lines.
The defendant twice drove off the road during the chase to avoid stop sticks while fleeing southbound on U.S. Route 68 and County Road 1.
Part of the restitution order — about $1,950 owed to the Logan County Sheriff’s Office — is for a deputy’s cruiser that Mr. Bolen struck while eluding authorities.
“It’s a wonder someone wasn’t injured worse than he was,” assistant prosecutor Dan LaRoche said.
Defense attorney Marc S. Triplett said his client has long struggled with his mental health and has regularly been attending counseling sessions at an Urbana Consolidated Care facility. Treatment and medication have since helped the defendant maintain good mental health, Mr. Triplett said.
Mr. Bolen had only been out of a jail a few days after serving a month for a prior menacing by stalking conviction when he went to the victim’s house that night and sat down at a backyard picnic table and began calling her.
Prosecutors learned Monday the victim had made phone calls and actually gone to visit Mr. Bolen during his month-long jail stint.
Mr. Bolen will be eligible for early release after 30 days. He was granted 165 days of jail credit.
Jesse Hamburger, 31, of Huntsville, pleaded guilty to possession of drugs. He was granted intervention and must complete drug counseling and three years of community control.
Also pleading guilty were Joey Miller, 43, of Marion, theft; Anthony Whitt, 28, of Kenton, forgery; and Dominic Disanto, 42, of Celina, theft. Presentence investigations were ordered for each, prior to sentencing Jan. 14.
Also sentenced were:
• David Rupert, 23, of Lewistown, two years in prison for complicity to robbery.
• Eric Brown, 19, of Huntsville, six months in the Logan County Jail, five years of community control and ordered to pay court costs for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. He was also labeled a Tier II sex offender
• Billy Joe Salmons, 32, 30 days in the Logan County Jail, three years of community control and ordered to pay a $250 fine, court costs, attorney fees and restitution for theft.