A man who reportedly shot a young girl with a pellet gun, the injury from which resulted in a severe infection and emergency surgery, was sentenced to three years of community control sanctions and ordered to have no contact with the victim unless approved by the mother, or with any children unless an adult is present – but only after being chided by the judge for using poor judgement.
Highland County Common Pleas Court Judge Rocky Coss described the incident as “an example of of tremendously stupid conduct,” criticizing Michael Ferguson, 23, Highland, for using a weapon improperly and setting a poor example for young people.
Highland County Prosecuting Attorney Anneka Collins said Ferguson shot the pellet gun through a screen door at the child, and the pellet became lodged in her bone, causing an infection and requiring emergency surgery to remove it.
Ferguson’s attorney, Adam King, said Ferguson didn’t know the pellet gun was loaded at the time of the incident and didn’t mean to shoot the child, saying the victim is related to Ferguson’s fiance.
Ferguson, visibly contrite, apologized to the victim and her family, and said he still wants to be a part of the family.
Coss said he was “struggling” to decide on Ferguson’s sentence, since the victim “suffered some pretty significant injury.”
“I still don’t get why you had a gun in the house with children around,” the judge said, adding that he remembers playing with pellet guns as a child, “but you’re an adult… You should be setting an example.”
As reported by The Times-Gazette, Ferguson was originally charged with felonious assault, a second-degree felony, and endangering children, a third-degree felony. Ferguson pled guilty to endangering children, and the felonious assault charge was dropped as part of a plea agreement.
Several people who appeared to be family members were also in the courtroom.
At one point, a woman’s phone rang, and Coss asked the bailiff to confiscate it, reminding those in attendance that a $25 fine must be paid for confiscated phones to be returned.
“The county thanks you for your contribution,” Coss said.
Also Wednesday, a man charged with a number of sex crimes rejected a written plea offer from Highland County Prosecuting Attorney Anneka Collins.
Seth Parshall, 29, Wilmington, is charged with three counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor, a fourth-degree felony, and eight counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance, a fifth-degree felony.
The case is set to proceed to trial Nov. 6 at 8 a.m.
As reported by The Times-Gazette, Parshall was indicted in June by a Highland County Grand Jury on the charges after Google alerted local law enforcement to obscene content contained in files allegedly downloaded by Parshall in May 2014.
According to a bill of particulars filed in the case, Parshall allegedly visited a chat room on the internet at the time, and during Skype conversations expressed interest in images of young boys age 8 and up.
Parshall then allegedly downloaded multiple files he was sent containing images of young boys engaging in sexual activity, the bill states.
Parshall admitted he downloaded the files to his Google Drive account, looked at the pictures, then deleted them the following day, according to the bill.
Discovery documents in the case indicate several witnesses will be called to the stand, including officers from the Bureau of Criminal Investigations in London, Ohio, Det. Sgt. Randy Sanders of the Highland County Sheriff’s Office, Angelo Christian Nono, a Google legal investigations support person and Caroline Wathey, a civilian analyst. Documents show Justin Root of Dickinson Wright in Columbus is listed as an expert witness.
Parshall is represented by defense attorney Bruce Wallace. The trial, originally slated for Aug. 24, was moved following a motion to continue filed by Wallace.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.
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