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Trial ends halfway through after defendant pleads to lesser charge

A defendant who was on trial for a second-degree felony won’t have to do any prison time after Tuesday’s proceedings were discontinued following his plea to an amended misdemeanor charge.

Lovett Dale

LOVETT

Dale J. Lovett, 36, of 3208 County Road 55, pleaded no contest before Logan County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark S. O’Connor to assault, a first-degree misdemeanor. Mr. Lovett began the day on trial for a second-degree felony charge of felonious assault, which prosecutors amended under the court’s direction.

At issue was whether the defendant caused “serious physical harm” to a neighbor after he punched the man Dec. 12 for coming onto his property.

The victim, Brad Kiser, told jurors he went onto Mr. Lovett’s property at the behest of his mother, who believed Mr. Lovett owed her $150 for some hay.

Logan County Prosecutor William T. Goslee said he disagreed with the court’s assessment that there was not enough evidence to prove serious physical harm, but was amending the charge to avoid having the case thrown out.

Mr. Kiser testified that he’s lost close to 20 pounds since the fight because of a mostly liquid diet the result of having lost nearly 10 teeth in the altercation. He also had six stitches and staples inserted to his head at a hospital, Mr. Goslee said.

“The fact that he lost multiple teeth — I do believe that’s serious physical harm,” Mr. Goslee said. “But, I understand the court disagrees.”

Defense attorney Natalie Bahan said her client had already paid Shirley Kiser the money he owed her for the hay, and that Mr. Kiser drove a pickup truck without a license onto the Lovett property that day uninvited. She said Mr. Kiser was enraged as he approached the front door and was about to take a swing at Mr. Lovett, with Mr. Lovett’s young daughter in the vicinity. Mr. Lovett felt threatened and defended himself, Ms. Bahan said.

Ms. Bahan showed a copy of a check dated for February 2012, that proves her client had paid the money he owed.

Testifying, Shirley Kiser said she had never before seen the check even though it contained her signature. She said she believed another female living in the house was responsible for forging her signature.

“That still doesn’t make up for what (the defendant) did to Brad,” the victim’s mother said.

In her opening arguments, Ms. Bahan said her client grew up just a few hundred yards away from the Kiser house and had long been of the opinion that Mr. Kiser was erratic and could be menacing.

Mr. Lovett faces six months in jail when he is sentenced June 10.

Other cases handled in Common Pleas Court this week were:

• Dwayne Hubbard, 26, of Bellefontaine: sentenced to five years’ community control and ordered to pay a $250 fine, court costs and attorney fees for domestic violence;

• Nicholas George, 20, of Lakeview: ordered to pay a $250 fine, court costs and attorney fees for criminal trespassing;

• Tricia Angles, 32, of Bellefontaine: pleaded guilty to possession of drugs; and

• Jonathon Canter, 19, of Plain City: pleaded guilty to burglary and breaking and entering. Presentence investigations were ordered and sentencings are scheduled for June 3.

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