House fire, COVID-19 given as reasons behind PSI failure


GREENVILLE — The current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and a house fire were given as reasons behind the lack of cooperation in a pre-sentence investigation (PSI) in Darke County Common Pleas Court held remotely on Friday. Judge Jonathan P. Hein presided.

Eric I. Cuzzort, 23, of Union City, OH., made an appearance via video from his attorney’s office for sentencing on charges of carrying a concealed weapon, a fourth-degree felony, and drug possession, a fifth-degree felony.

Prosecuting attorney Kelly Ormsby recommended 11 months incarceration, citing Cuzzort’s offense history includes not only Ohio but also burglary and receiving stolen property, among other offenses, in Kentucky, and that the defendant failed to cooperate in the pre-sentence investigation.

“Why would we expect that he would be successful on probation supervision?” continued Ormsby.

Defense attorney Randall Breaden, however, gave a recommendation of community control, citing the reasons behind his client’s issues regarding the PSI included COVID-19, a house fire, and the subsequent damage to and destruction of court-related paperwork, as well as some communication issues.

Breaden further stated, “I know these are non-serious offenses, there is no harm here.”

Cuzzort apologized to the court, elaborating on his attorney’s comments regarding an electrical fire that burned down the home where he was residing, as well as stating he was currently employed fulltime and abstaining from drugs.

“I think I’ve came [sic] a long way,” said Cuzzort.

“Don’t try blowing a bunch of smoke at me,” said Judge Hein, citing the defendant as having an “I don’t care attitude” and that the court had sent the defendant new paperwork after the fire. “The facts don’t support your version of reality.”

“It’s not that hard to get a PSI packet done if you pay attention,” continued Judge Hein. “If you want to play games moving forward, the leash is a whole lot shorter.”

Cuzzort was sentenced to 45 days in jail with nine days credit, community control up to 60 months, court costs, and 100 hours community service.

Also making an appearance in court via remote video conference were the following:

*Shanna R. Cates, 46, of Greenville, on charges of violating a protection order, a fifth-degree felony. An own recognizance bond was to continue with a status conference slated for June 5.

*Kelly E. Smith, Jr., 25, of Greenville, on allegations of community control violations. He admitted to the violations with incarceration to continue until admission to in-house recovery.

*Cara M. Geiger, of Pitsburg, was granted intervention in lieu of conviction (ILC) for possession of meth, a fifth-degree felony with entry into the NOVA program.


By Bethany J. Royer-DeLong

Reach reporter Bethany J. Royer-DeLong at 937/548-3330 or email [email protected]. Read more news, features, and sports at

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