GREENVILLE — Darke County Common Pleas Court heard cases involving drug abuse, probation violation, and both interstate and intrastate extradition Monday. Judge Jonathan P. Hein presided.
Michael Vecera, age 37, of New Madison, pleaded guilty to charges of violating the terms of his in lieu of conviction agreement. Vecera had previously been ordered to pursue drug abuse treatment in lieu of conviction on charges of possession of heroin, a fifth-degree felony carrying penalties of up to 12 months in prison and a potential $2,500 fine. Vecera’s probation officer alleged he had missed appointments with her and been kicked out of a treatment program at Darke County Recovery and Wellness. Vecera chose to decline the use of a court-appointed attorney and speak on his own behalf, saying transportation difficulties had prevented him from attending treatment. Darke County Prosecutor R. Kelly Ormsby asked the court to proceed to sentencing in the case.
“I violated the terms of my probation. I deserve whatever you feel is appropriate,” Vecera said when asked what penalty he felt the court should impose.
Judge Hein accepted Vecera’s guilty plea and sentenced him to 10 days in Darke County Jail and 60 months probation on the original drug charge. He also urged Vecera to pursue gainful employment at a nearby manufacturing firm.
“Knock on their door and tell them you’ve got a healthy back and half a brain,” Hein said.
Lucas Lear, of Richland County, appeared after being arrested by Darke County Sheriffs on a warrant from Mansfield Municipal Court. Richland County was attempting to extradite Lear on charges of driving a motor vehicle while under suspension. Lear chose to return voluntarily to Richland County rather than request a hearing to challenge the process.
“I’d rather just go back and get it over with, to be honest,” Lear told the court.
Romona Miller, of Jay County, Indiana, appeared on charges of aggravated possession of methamphetamine, a fifth-degree felony. Jay County authorities also wished to extradite Miller to serve time on charges there. Miller agreed to be returned to Jay County voluntarily. Judge Hein ordered her to return to Darke County and face the drug charge after being released by authorities in Indiana.
Taylor Swartz, of Greenville, appeared on charges of possession of heroin and fentanyl, a fifth-degree felony carrying penalties of up to 12 months in prison and a potential $2,500 fine. Judge Hein entered a not guilty plea on Swartz’s behalf, set bond at $2,500 and appointed attorney Randall Braeden to represent the defendant. Her next court appearance is a pre-trial conference, to be held July 2.
Nicholas Noggler, age 23, of Fort Recovery, appeared on allegations of failure to comply with terms of his probation. Noggler was convicted of aggravated possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony, in 2017. Noggler’s probation officer alleged he had tested positive for fentanyl and THC, failed to complete court-ordered treatment for drug abuse and failed to make restitution as ordered. If found guilty of these violations, Noggler could face up to nine months in prison with credit for time served. Judge Hein entered a denial on Noggler’s behalf, set bond at $25,000, and appointed attorney Randall Braeden to represent the defendant. His next court appearance is a probable cause and disposition hearing, to be held July 19.
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