GREENVILLE — Defendants were sentenced on charges of sexual battery, forgery, and tampering with evidence in Darke County Common Pleas Court Tuesday. Judge Jonathan P. Hein presided.
Harley Campbell, age 22, of Greenville, pled guilty to charges of sexual battery of a victim under 13 years of age, a second-degree felony, and illegal use of a minor in nudity-related material, a fourth-degree felony. The first charge was amended from a count of rape, in accordance with a plea agreement between Campbell and the Darke County Prosecutor’s Office.The charges carried combined penalties of up to nine years in prison and a possible $15,000 fine, as well as lifetime registration as a Tier III sex offender.
Campbell entered an Alford plea to the charges, meaning that while he does not admit guilt, he acknowledges that prosecutors possess enough evidence to convict him.
“The defendant was facing life in prison without parole if convicted on the original two counts,” defense attorney Randall Braeden told the court in response to questions about the reasoning for entering the Alford plea.
Prosecutor James Bennett outlined the state’s reasons for agreeing to the plea as well.
“The victim being extremely young, we thought this was necessary to deliver justice, as well as to prevent her from having to testify in a trial of this nature,” Bennett said.
Hein sentenced Campbell to six years in prison, as well as five-year post-release supervision and lifetime sex offender registry.
Lowell Bowers, age 37, of Union City, Indiana, pled guilty to three counts of forgery, a fifth-degree felony, in connection with a series of bounced checks the defendant wrote late last year. Bowers claimed the checks were for groceries and building supplies needed to house and feed his daughters, of whom he had recently taken custody.
“I realize I was wrong, and I should’ve gone about it a different way. Maybe asked for help somewhere,” Bowers said.
Judge Hein accepted the defendant’s plea and sentenced him to 60 months probation, as well as to pay restitution in the amount of $1800.
Samantha Thomas, age 23, of Greenville, admitted violating the terms of her probation for tampering with evidence, a fourth-degree felony. Thomas was previously sentenced to treatment in lieu of conviction after pleading guilty to the evidence-tampering charge. She was ordered to attend the MonDay program, but was later discharged for rule violations.
“The defendant was given a chance to try and help herself,” prosecutor R. Kelly Ormsby said.”We don’t have a better option than the MonDay program, so I see no other choice but to recommend prison time.”
Judge Hein sentenced Thomas to 17 months in prison, with credit for 134 days already served.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4315. To join the conversation and get updates on Facebook, search Advocate 360. For more features online, go to dailyadvocate.com