Jason Jones pleads guilty to vehicular homicide in Darke County Common Pleas


By Anthony Baker - abaker@dailyadvocate.com



Wentz

Wentz


Lewis


Heard


Cox


GREENVILLE — Darke County Common Pleas Court heard vehicular homicide and breaking and entering cases this week. Judge Jonathan P. Hein presided.

Jason Jones, 33, of Greenville, pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, a second-degree felony, and driving with a prohibited concentration of methamphetamine in his system. The charges carry penalties of up to eight years in prison and a mandatory lifetime driver’s license suspension.

The homicide charge was amended from a first-degree felony in accordance with a plea agreement between Jones and the Darke County Prosecutor’s Office. Additional counts of driving under the influence and driving under suspension, both first-degree misdemeanors, were dismissed as part of the negotiated plea.

Jones was involved in a single-car accident in February of this year that resulted in the death of a passenger in his vehicle, 33-year-old Terra Hodge, also of Greenville. Under the current terms of his plea, Jones acknowledges that he was driving with a prohibited amount of drugs in his system but not that he was in fact impaired or “under the influence” when the accident took place.

“We was found by the side of the road and I woke up behind the wheel, so I guess I’m responsible for whatever happened,” Jones said of the crash.

Jones affirmed that he was entering the plea of his own free will, but said he did feel pressured by the potential eight-year prison term.

“This kills me every day I live, and I just want to get it over with,” Jones told the court. “I’ve never been to prison before, and this plea deal is the best offer I’ve got.”

Darke County Assistant Prosecutor James Bennett and defense attorney Randall Braeden agreed to jointly recommend a two-year prison sentence under the terms of the plea agreement. Judge Hein found the defendant guilty. A sentencing hearing will take place Jan. 14, pending preparation of a pre-sentencing report and possible victim impact statements.

Robert Wentz, 34, of Greenville, appeared via video teleconference with the Darke County Jail on charges of receiving stolen property, a fourth-degree felony carrying penalties of up to 18 months in prison and a potential $5,000 fine. Judge Hein released Wentz on his own recognizance and appointed attorney David Rohrer for the defense; his next court appearance, if indicted, is set for Jan. 14.

Brad Lewis, 40, of Dayton, appeared on charges of breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony carrying penalties of up to 12 months in prison and a potential $2,500 fine. Judge Hein released Lewis on his own recognizance and appointed attorney Matthew Pierron for the defense; his next court appearance, if indicted, is set for Jan. 14.

Trae’Wan Heard, 26, of Huber Heights, appeared on charges of breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony carrying penalties of up to 12 months in prison and a potential $2,500 fine. Judge Hein released Heard on his own recognizance; his next court appearance, if indicted, is set for Jan. 14.

Finally, Megan Cox, 24, also of Huber Heights, appeared on charges of breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony carrying penalties of up to 12 months in prison and a potential $2,500 fine. Judge Hein released Cox on her own recognizance and appointed attorney Randall Braeden for the defense; her next court appearance, if indicted, is set for Jan. 14.

Wentz
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/12/web1_Robert-Wentz.jpgWentz

Lewis
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/12/web1_Brad-Lewis.jpgLewis

Heard
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/12/web1_Trae-Wan-Heard.jpgHeard

Cox
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/12/web1_Megan-Cox.jpgCox

https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/12/web1_Jason-Jones.jpg

By Anthony Baker

abaker@dailyadvocate.com

The writer may be reached at 937-569-4315. To join the conversation and get updates on Facebook, search Advocate360. For more features online, go to dailyadvocate.com.

The writer may be reached at 937-569-4315. To join the conversation and get updates on Facebook, search Advocate360. For more features online, go to dailyadvocate.com.