Preble County Common Pleas hears drug, assault, weapons cases

By Anthony Baker -

EATON — Preble County Common Pleas Court heard cases involving assault, drugs, and weapons violations last week. Judge Stephen R. Bruns presided.

Taylor Shane Neal, 36, of Eaton, was sentenced on charges of aggravated assault and having weapons while under disability. Neal was sentenced to community control; in addition to paying court costs and performing 100 hours of community service, he must pay approximately $48,000 restitution to cover his alleged victim’s out-of-pocket medical expenses.

According to a representative from the Preble County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the victim in the case suffered a fractured orbital socket that necessitated placing a steel plate inside his cheek. Nevertheless, the victim requested that Neal not be given a prison sentence. Neal faces a suspended sentence of two years incarceration if he violates the terms of his probation.

Bert S. Watkins, 40, of Richmond, was sentenced on charges of aggravated assault, a fourth-degree felony. The charge was amended from an earlier count of felonious assault, a second-degree felony, as a result of the alleged victim’s lack of availability to testify and “her alignment with the defendant,” according to prosecutors.

Watkins was sentenced to 18 months incarceration, with 91 days credit for time already served. The defendant also faces a possession of cocaine charge; the trial on that charge is currently set to begin August 25.

Darryl C. Rike, 56, was sentenced to three years of community control on charges of trespassing in a habitation, a fourth-degree felony, and breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony. Additional counts of obstructing official business, also a fifth-degree felony; inducing panic, a first-degree misdemeanor; and resisting arrest, a second-degree misdemeanor, were dismissed in accordance with a plea agreement between Rike and the Preble County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

“This is quite embarrassing for me and my family, and I apologize,” Rike told the court before his sentence was handed down. Rike faces a reserved sentence of 30 months incarceration if he violates the terms of his probation.

Brandon Boykin, 38, of San Diego, failed to appear on charges of having weapons while under disability. Additional charges of carrying a concealed weapon, a fourth-degree felony, and possession of marijuana, a fourth-degree misdemeanor, had previously been dismissed in accordance with a plea agreement between Boykin and the Preble County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Boykin’s attorney, Sam Borst, told the court that Boykin had checked himself into a hospital in Indianapolis to pursue treatment for depression, but was still expected to appear in time for his hearing. Judge Bruns issued a warrant for Boykin’s arrest.

Finally, Ace Gulley, 41, of Eaton, was arraigned on charges of aggravated trafficking in drugs. Gulley was taken into custody at the end of June after allegedly selling two grams of methamphetamine to an undercover police officer.

Gulley asked the court to proceed to sentencing in the case immediately.

“If you give me drug treatment today, we walk away and everybody be done,” Gulley said. “I ain’t trying to fight it, I’m just trying to get better.”

“That’s not how it works, Mr. Gulley,” Judge Bruns told the defendant.

Gulley’s previous record includes charges of illegal conveyance of drugs of abuse onto grounds of a government facility and trafficking in heroin. His next court appearance is a pre-trial conference, to be held July 25.

By Anthony Baker