By Meladi Brewer
GREENVILLE – One person received judicial release while another was sentenced in the Darke County Common Pleas Court. Judge Jonathan P. Hein presided.
Carrie D. Mendenhall, 30, of Greenville, was granted judicial release via video conference Monday between the Ohio Reformatory for Women and the Darke County Common Pleas Court.
Mendenhall was sentenced in August 2021 and was sentenced to two years in prison on the original charge of two counts of burglary with 78 days credited. Due to her lack of jail experience, part of the plea agreement was that the state would not be opposed to judicial release after Mendenhall had served six months of her sentence.
“When the offenses happened, the state made an offer to miss Mendenhall that if she plead guilty to the two burglary counts the state would recommend two years in prison because they were serious offenses, but the state also included that since she had not been in prison before, we would not object to judicial release after she had served at least six months,” Prosecutor R. Kelly Ormsby said.
Upon looking at Mendenhall’s reprimand history at the jail, she has been a model inmate with little to no infractions. She said she feels she has learned a lot while in prison.
“I feel like I’ve learned a lot from being here in prison,” Mendenhall said. “I mean this has been the longest I’ve ever been locked up. I want to be able to prove myself when I get out that I can be a law-abiding citizen and not be in trouble with the law anymore.”
While in prison, Mendenhall took classes and paved the way for her recovery and planned on continuing to seek help upon release in order to remain sober and deal with addiction, saying her sobriety had to do with the incident in the first place.
“If I wouldn’t have been on drugs, it would have never happened,” Mendenhall said.
Judge Hein granted Mendenhall judicial release with up to 60 months of supervision. She must also complete 100 hours of community service, and if Mendenhall fails to follow the rules and regulations put forth, she will be sentenced to continue out her original sentence without a second chance for judicial review.
Bryan J. Blackburn, 22, of Arcanum, entered a not-guilty plea to amended count one of attempted improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, a felony of the fifth degree and count two of physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence, a misdemeanor of the first degree.
Blackburn faced up to 6 months incarceration and a $1,000 fine of both charges for a total of up to one year incarceration and a $2,000, all of which are not mandatory. The offense happened in December 2021 resulting in the suspension of his license the night of the offense. His defense attorney, Alex Pendl, spoke out about the case.
“Your honor, there is one smart decision that happened that night,” Pendl said.
Blackburn had pulled over when he felt too tired and drunk to drive in order to sleep instead of continuing to drive the rest of the way home. Pendl did mention the court does not expect to see him again.
Judge Hein accepted the guilty plea, put Blackburn on supervision for 24 months along with other stipulations and restrictions. He also must forfeit the firearm.
To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected]