GREENVILLE — Darke County Common Pleas Court heard cases involving burglary and drug possession Thursday morning.
Lee Ware, age 48, of Greenville, pled guilty to two counts of trafficking in drugs, a fifth-degree felony. Judge Jonathan P. Hein sentenced Ware to one day in jail and ordered the defendant to complete substance abuse treatment, pay court costs, and make restitution in the amount of $310, as well as to abstain from alcohol and illegal drugs and complete 100 hours of community service.
“I came in and pled guilty because I wanted to clear this up, Your Honor,” Ware told the court shortly before being sentenced. “I have pretty good faith in myself, and the skills I learned in the MonDay program. I just want to stay home with the kids and stop wasting the court’s time.”
Judge Hein had little patience for Ware’s remarks, despite the generous sentence.
“All that stuff you just said doesn’t mean squat,” Hein told the defendant. “You’ve been in here I don’t know how many times, and you’re always very well-intentioned, very cordial. You want to be liked, and the guys in the probation department say you’re easy to get along with. But it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t start doing what you say you’re going to do. So quit joking around with the court, quit joking around with yourself, and prove it.”
If Ware fails to comply with the terms of his probation, he could face up to 11 months in prison.
Deryl Shirk, of Covington, pled guilty to charges of burglary, a third-degree felony. Shirk has an extensive history of drug abuse, including cocaine and methamphetamine, but no previous arrests or felony convictions. The current charges stem from an incident in which Shirk broke into a relative’s home and stole a drill, which he then sold to make money in order to buy drugs.
“Your Honor, this is the first time in all my years where I’ve had not only the defendant come into my office, but also the victim,” defense attorney Randall Braeden told the court. “Mr. Shirk’s family is behind him 100 percent, and the victim didn’t want to see punishment in this case, but treatment. I believe treatment in lieu of conviction offers the best chance for him not to reoffend.”
Probation officer Mike Albright expressed similar sentiments.
“I’ve always said that using drugs doesn’t make you a criminal, but it makes you commit criminal acts,” Albright said. “If he follows the terms of his probation, I think he’ll be fine.”
Judge Hein ordered Shirk to complete a substance abuse program, maintain employment, pay court costs, and perform 100 hours of community service. If Shirk complies with the requirements of his probation, the charges against him will be dismissed.
Gloria Bowman, of Greenville, entered an Alford plea on charges of complicity to commit burglary, a fourth-degree felony. When entering an Alford plea, the defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges that enough evidence exists to convict him or her.
“Your Honor, I believe my client was brought into this conspiracy to commit this burglary when one of the co-defendants befriended her, and she failed to realize she was being used,” defense attorney Braeden told the court. Bowman allegedly checked to see whether the door to a neighboring house was locked on behalf of one of her co-defendants while outside walking her dog.
“I didn’t mean no harm to nobody,” Bowman said. “I got involved in this without realizing what was going on.”
Judge Hein sentenced Bowman to 60 months probation and 15 days of house arrest. Hein also ordered the defendant to pay restitution in the amount of $2000 over 24 months; to abstain from alcohol and illegal drugs; to perform 40 hours of community service; and to pursue some sort of part-time employment. Failure to comply could result in an eight-month prison sentence.
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