A Hillsboro man recently found guilty of forgery was sentenced Wednesday morning to three years of community control sanctions, but only after the judge criticized him for apparently lacking remorse.
Shawn E. Ervin, 43, Hillsboro, was sentenced to three years of community control sanctions and ordered to complete any mental health treatment programs recommended for him.
In remarks to the court Wednesday, Ervin argued his innocence, and claimed that state officials and other individuals had falsified documents.
Highland County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney James Roeder said Ervin has filed a lawsuit against two people important to the case, demanding more than $400,000 in damages.
Highland County Common Pleas Court Judge Rocky Coss told Ervin he has “serious issues,” and said the defendant’s behavior and lack of remorse has been “ridiculous.”
“I understand maintaining your innocence, but… your whole theme, not only in this case, but in your PSI (Pre-Sentence Investigation) as well as adjudication, is basically that everyone you’ve ever dealt with is a liar, a falsifier,” Coss said. “I don’t know why you think you’re that important, because you’re really not. You’re not important. You’re just another guy.”
As reported by The Times-Gazette, a jury handed down a guilty verdict in November on three counts of forgery, a fifth-degree felony, brought against Ervin in a case Coss described as “bizarre.”
Highland County Prosecuting Attorney Anneka Collins told The Times-Gazette that Ervin’s offense was not punishable by prison time, since House Bill 86 prevents judges from sending low-level felony offenders to prison if they have no prior criminal record.
Ervin was indicted in June for allegedly submitting a fake court document to a Franklin County court in a custody case he had lost, requesting that the court accept a ruling in Ervin’s favor from a court in Leesburg. Multiple witnesses testified at trial that no such court exists.
Witnesses said the document contained the signature of Chris Runyon, who the document described as a court official, and was notarized by his wife, Alyssa Teeters-Runyon, who works in the Highland County Clerk of Courts office.
While on the stand, Ervin testified that Chris Runyon, who was formerly his employer, had commiserated with him over the custody case and offered to help by writing and signing the court entry.
Runyon testified that he never signed the document or offered to help Ervin, and Teeters-Runyon said she never notarized such a document.
Both said they signed and notarized a lease agreement for Ervin to rent their garage. Highland County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jim Roeder argued that Ervin had copied the signature and notary stamp from the lease agreement and pasted it onto the court document.
Ervin and his wife, Jessica Van Ness, gave testimony that conflicted with Runyon and Teeters-Runyon’s statements regarding Runyon and Ervin’s relationship and the circumstances of the document’s creation.
Roeder said during his closing statement that much of the case centered around “who you believe,” and said Ervin was the only party who had a reason to be dishonest, since he had admitted to filing the document in the first place.
Ervin said Wednesday he plans to appeal the verdict.
In other court proceedings, Brandon D. Shaffer, 30, Lynchburg, was sentenced to two years in prison after he pled guilty to one count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a third-degree felony.
Highland County Prosecuting Attorney Anneka Collins said the victim was 15.
Alisa Kirschner, 33, Hillsboro, was sentenced to seven months in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated possession of methamphetamine, a fifth-degree felony. An additional 409-day sentence was imposed because Kirschner committed the crime while on post-release control.
Nathan E. Keaton, 36, Hillsboro, was sentenced to three years of community control sanctions and ordered to complete drug treatment.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.
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