GREENVILLE — A bench trial came to a stop Tuesday in Darke County Common Pleas Court as the defendant chose to plead guilty to the misdemeanor charges of his indictment. The felonies were dismissed.
Michael L. Fisher Jr., 36, of Fort Recovery, was indicted on three counts of receiving stolen property, each a fifth-degree felony, and three counts of certificate of title to accompany transfer, each an unclassified misdemeanor.
Fisher works managing a salvage yard owned by his father. In April of 2015, Kyle Raymond contacted Fisher to dispose of some junk cars, according to testimony. Raymond told Fisher that he and his friend, Rusty Curtner, were cleaning up the property of their deceased grandparents and readying it for sale.
Fisher said when he arrived, he found Raymond and Curtner behaving as expected on the site, so he took them at their word that they had authorization to dispose of the cars.
Fisher took possession of a 1978 Ford Pinto, a 1979 Pinto and a 1985 Buick Century over the course of a couple of weeks, then was visited by a Darke County Sheriff’s Deputy and was informed the vehicles belonged to Harold Moore.
Moore testified the vehicles were among several that had been unattended for many years on the property he owned.
Curtner and Raymond were called to testify for the prosecution in exchange for “treatment in lieu of conviction” on their related charges of grand theft. Both were advised by Judge Jonathan Hein to contact their attorneys before testifying to facts that could be used against them in their own cases. Curtner testified in the morning, but Raymond’s testimony was deferred until afternoon and did not, therefore, come to pass.
During a midday break, Fisher’s attorney, David Rohrer, and County Assistant Prosecutor Jesse Green reached the plea agreement, bringing an end to the bench trial. Fisher entered guilty pleas to the misdemeanor charges, and the felonies were dismissed.
Sentencing went forward immediately, and Fisher was given 10 days in jail and 10 days suspended upon his misdemeanor conviction. He also was orderd to 12 months of community control supervision, fined $200 and ordered to pay restitution to Moore in the amount of $500.