Winchester man stays on probation


A Winchester man who previously implied in court that his legal troubles were politically motivated admitted in Highland County Common Pleas Court on Thursday to violating his community control.

Wesley A. Stratton, 22, was continued on community control after admitting to consuming marijuana, the sole allegation filed on Wednesday by the Adult Parole Authority.

Stratton being continued on his probation came with a warning from retired Franklin County Judge Dale Crawford that if Stratton “tests positive for one more illegal substance, then his community control will be revoked and a prison sentence will be imposed,” according to the entry signed by the judge on Thursday afternoon.

Judge Rocky Coss previously recused himself from the case.

Stratton was initially granted entry into the prosecutor’s diversion program in 2014 after entering a guilty plea to a fifth-degree felony marijuana trafficking charge, which had been amended from a fourth-degree felony. He was later sentenced to community control after the court found that he had violated the terms of the program and his community control.

Among the allegations that Stratton faced in an evidentiary hearing last July were that he was selling illegal drugs and associating with persons he knew to be on probation, which is a standard prohibition for anyone on community control.

As previously reported, the state in that hearing presented a photograph from a party depicting Stratton and two others identified by a probation officer as persons on probation.

It was in that July hearing that Stratton implied in testimony that his being back in the courtroom was because Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins had “a problem” with Stratton’s father, who is Highland County Chief Deputy Brandon Stratton.

The defendant later admitted during his testimony under questioning from Collins that he had told his probation officer that he was “a pawn in a political chess game.”

At the conclusion of the July hearing Crawford noted Stratton’s seeming “ill will” toward the prosecutor, and reminded the defendant that the diversion program was “a privilege” that the prosecutor did not have to allow him.

At that time the judge determined that Stratton had violated his diversion supervision and accepted the guilty plea that had been held in abeyance since Stratton entered the diversion program in June 2014. The defendant later was sentenced to two years community control. It is under the same conditions of that community control that Stratton is bound by following Thursday’s hearing.

Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.

Judge says further substance violation means prison time

By Angela Shepherd

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