Assault case continued for Leesburg man; judge dismisses bad check cases

Last updated: June 27. 2014 7:12PM - 3830 Views
By Sarah Allen sallen@civitasmedia.com

Gary Branson W. Watson is pictured before Hillsboro Municipal Court Judge David H. McKenna during Friday's proceedings.
Gary Branson W. Watson is pictured before Hillsboro Municipal Court Judge David H. McKenna during Friday's proceedings.
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Charges ranging from theft to assault were heard in Hillsboro Municipal Court on Friday.

Two individuals appeared for pretrials involving theft, a first-degree misdemeanor.

Richard L. Washburn, 21, of Greenfield, pled guilty to theft, a first-degree misdemeanor. As per a plea agreement, the state recommended a suspended sentence on the condition that he stay away from Walmart and that he stay away from co-defendant, Gary Branson W. Watson, 21, of Washington C.H.

Hillsboro Municipal Court Judge David H. McKenna said Washburn had previously been incarcerated for four years on a burglary charge. He was currently on post-release control.

“It looks like you’re working real hard to go back to prison,” McKenna said. “I don’t know why you think … you can just go into Walmart and steal and there’s no big deal to it and you can get your life together when you feel like it.”

He added, “Evidently four years in prison didn’t sink in too much.”

After reviewing the case, McKenna said, “I’m going to give you a chance to get rested up real good … so when you get to the halfway house … you can pay attention.”

He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, 150 of which were suspended. Those days will be furloughed to July 12 so that Washburn can attend the halfway house. He must complete 80 hours of community service and is prohibited from having contact with Walmart or Watson.

After hearing the sentence, Washburn said, “The prosecutor made me a deal.”

McKenna said, as the judge, he did not have to follow the deal. He added that Washburn had been thinking like a thief. “You said you stole a phone because you needed a phone.”

Washburn’s case is set for a review hearing on Sept. 22.

Watson, Washburn’s co-defendant, also appeared on Friday. He was also charged with first-degree misdemeanor theft and also entered into a guilty plea in exchange for the state recommending a suspended sentence, with conditions of staying away from Walmart and Washburn. Watson would also have to pay restitution.

Following his plea, Watson said, “I learned my lesson.”

He said both he and Washburn had been working at Turning Point and had walked to Walmart on the date the thefts had occurred.

When McKenna asked whose idea the stealing had been, Watson said, “Both of ours.”

“So you were just walking down the street, and you think, ‘Whoa, let’s go steal from Walmart?’” McKenna asked. “Is that how it went?”

“Pretty much,” Watson said.

McKenna said Watson had not been to prison. He asked if he was working, and Watson said he had recently started working with his grandfather doing construction. He added that, when he had been at Turning Point, he had also been pursuing his GED, and, at that time had been “almost done with it.”

He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, all of which were suspended. Watson was also fined $500, which was also suspended. He was placed on reporting probation. He must complete 60 hours of community service, 40 hours of which may be substituted by attaining his GED.

A review hearing for his case was scheduled for March 4, 2015.

Also appearingon Friday was Everett E. Elliott, 43, of Leesburg, for a pretrial concerning assault. The case was continued until the alleged victim could appear in court. Another pretrial was scheduled for July 25.

Timothy W. McKee Jr., 24, of West Union, entered into a plea agreement in which a domestic violence charge would be dismissed in exchange for a guilty plea to assault, a first-degree misdemeanor.

His sentencing was deferred until Dec. 19, pending the completion of domestic violence classes. If he complies to that condition, the charge will be reduced to disorderly conduct, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.

Thomas A. Rogg, 42, of Hillsboro, pled guilty to unauthorized use of a vehicle, a first-degree misdemeanor, and possession of drug abuse instruments, a second-degree misdemeanor. As per a plea agreement, a resisting arrest charge was dismissed. In addition, the state would recommend a suspended sentence and FRS assessment. Rogg would have to complete any counseling as well as forfeit all the drug paraphernalia.

When asked how long he had been using drugs, Rogg said, “About four months.”

He said, following knee surgery and a stomach infection, pain pills had failed to alleviate his discomfort. At that time, he’d started using heroin.

“I pretty much lost everything,” he said.

Rogg added that, prior to his heroin use, “I was actually doing pretty good in life.”

He also said that, after being released from jail, he had “two chances for a job.”

“More than anything, I hurt myself and my friends,” he added.

For the unauthorized use charge, he was fined $1,000, which was suspended. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, 162 of which were suspended. Rogg was placed on reporting probation and required to obtain counseling.

On the drug charge, he was given 90 days in jail, 72 of which were suspended. His driver’s license was suspended until June 27, 2015.

Rogg was given 18 days jail time credit. He will also have to pay court costs on both cases.

Finally, appearing for hearings concerning bad check charges, a first-degree misdemeanor, were Lisa Jones, 25, of Hillsboro, and Jeremiah R. Eidenier, 39, of Leesburg.

Also appearing on Friday in regard to those cases was a representative from a local cash advance business.

The Times-Gazette earlier reported that, during previous hearings on these cases, McKenna had said if the cash advance business was “going to loan (the defendants) money on a check they know is no good … I have a problem with them trying to say (the defendants) committed a crime.”

At that time, McKenna had added that the court would not get involved in practices of business unless it was certain that a crime was occurring.

On Friday, McKenna told the representative from the business that these charges were not criminal cases. It should be handled through small claims court, he said.

“You are in the business of loaning people money when they don’t have money. You’re not in the business of wasting the police’s time … (and) the court’s time.”

Because the cash advance business had agreed to hold the checks for a few weeks, McKenna said, “Then you knew the money wasn’t in the account when you took the check.”

By filing a report for bad checks, he said, the cash advance business had provided a false statement to the police department.

McKenna said the business could be charged with obstructing justice or falsifying statements. He added it could also be sued for false arrest.

He added that the municipal court had seen “about half a dozen of these (cases) this year.”

The representative said this is the way business had always been done.

“Just because they do it some place for a long time doesn’t mean it’s legal,” McKenna said, adding, “I don’t want people getting arrested. That’s how people get hurt.”

Both Jones’ and Eidenier’s cases were dismissed.

Sarah Allen may be reached at 937-402-2571 or on Twitter @SarahAllenHTG.

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