Preble County Common Pleas hears drug, weapons cases

By Anthony Baker -

EATON — The Preble County Common Pleas Court heard cases involving drugs, robbery, probation violation, and weapons charges on Wednesday afternoon. Judge Stephen R. Bruns presided.

Joshua Allen Nix, 31, of Richmond, was sentenced on charges of aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, and having weapons while under disability, a third-degree felony. The charges include a firearm specification which carries a mandatory three-year prison term.

Nix’s defense attorney, Kyle Lennen, objected to the state requesting a harsher sentence for Nix than that of his co-defendant, Daniel Mills. Mills, 28, of Lewisburg, received a six-year sentence on similar charges on Tuesday.

“They committed this crime together, and they’ve done this kind of thing together before,” Lennen told the court.

Judge Bruns agreed.

“The primary difference I see is that Mr. Mills was a little quicker to come forward to the police,” Bruns said. “But I do think their behavior is essentially the same.”

Judge Bruns sentenced Nix to three years on each charge, to be served concurrently, as well as an additional three years on the firearm specification, to be served consecutively. Nix faces a total of six years in prison, followed by five years of mandatory post-release control.

Joseph A. Nickell, 32, of Eaton, was sentenced on charges of aggravated possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony. Nickell also admitted to two counts of community control violation related to possession of a concealed weapon and violation of a protection order.

Bruns sentenced the defendant to three years of community control. Nickell must also pay $150 restitution, reimburse the county for the cost of his court-appointed attorney, and complete court-ordered substance abuse treatment.

“I’ve heard from everybody that you’re doing well,” Bruns said, citing Nickell’s current involvement in treatment. “This is your chance to get your life back into your control and continue what you’ve been doing.”

Roy E. Clinard, 53, also of Eaton, was arraigned on charges of aggravated possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony, as well as two counts of community control violation related to that charge.

“It wasn’t all that long ago we saw you here,” Bruns told the defendant. Bruns appointed attorney James Vanzant to represent Clinard, who was released on $5000 bond pending his next court appearance on Friday.

Brandon S. Steiger, 36, of New Carlisle, failed to appear for a hearing on charges of failing to complete a court-ordered diversion program. Steiger pleaded guilty to improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, a first-degree misdemeanor, in August of 2017, but his sentence was stayed pending completion of the diversion program; two additional counts of carrying a concealed weapon, also a first-degree misdemeanor, were dismissed.

The charges stem from a traffic stop in Camden in June of 2017, during which Steiger was found to be in possession of a loaded semi-automatic weapon for which he did not possess a valid concealed carry license.

By Anthony Baker