Preble County Common Pleas Court hears drug, assault, child endangerment cases

By Anthony Baker -

EATON — Preble County Common Pleas Court heard cases involving drugs, assault, child endangerment, and receiving stolen property last week. Judge Stephen R. Bruns presided.

William Dawson, 20, of West Alexandria, was sentenced on charges of theft, aggravated trafficking in drugs, aggravated possession, having weapons while under disability, and trafficking marijuana. Judge Bruns ordered concurrent prison sentences for the various charges totaling four years, with approximately 140 days credit for time already served. Approximately $25,000 in fines were dismissed, as the defendant had been declared indigent.

Dawson was arrested by Camden police in July 2018 after officers witnessed him taking part in a drug-related transaction. He pleaded guilty to the charges in May of this year.

Dawson attempted to withdraw his guilty plea after learning that he would not be eligible for judicial release after two years, which he claimed was a condition of the plea agreement he discussed with his attorney and the Preble County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Judge Bruns pointed out this was not stated in the plea agreement Dawson had signed, however, and ordered the defendant taken into custody.

Holly Gray-Lapple, 21, of Eaton, stood trial on charges of felonious assault and endangering children, both second-degree felonies; as well as one count of causing serious physical harm to a child, a third-degree felony. A jury found the defendant guilty on all charges; a final disposition hearing in the case is set for July 9 at 1 p.m. Judge Bruns released Gray-Lapple pending sentencing despite a request by the prosecution to revoke bond.

Paul Schoonover, 62, of Camden, was sentenced on charges of receiving stolen property, a fourth-degree felony. Schoonover appears to have no previous criminal record in Preble County, and claimed the property in question had been left on his premises without his knowledge.

“My client contends, and it may one day be proven, that he was set up,” Schoonover’s attorney, Sam Borst, told the court. “His mistake was in trying to get rid of the stolen property once he found it, rather than calling the police.”

Judge Bruns sentenced Schoonover to community control. As part of the terms of his probation, Schoonover must complete mental health or substance abuse treatment, pay $2,441 restitution, and reimburse the county for the cost of his court-appointed attorney. If he fails to comply with these terms, Schoonover could face up to 18 months in prison.

Samantha Dillon, 31, of Eaton, appeared on charges of probation violation. Dillon is on community control stemming from a charge of illegal conveyance of drugs of abuse onto grounds of a government facility, a third-degree felony. She was taken into custody the previous week after attempting to flee from authorities following a meeting with her probation officer.

Dillon’s attorney asked for a hearing, which was scheduled for June 25, at 1 p.m. It was also requested that Dillon be released pending the hearing, but the judge ordered the defendant held without bond.

Andrea Cusimano, 40, was sentenced on charges of aggravated possession of drugs. Judge Bruns seemed dubious about the defendant’s claims of feeling remorse for her actions.

“I’d like to take you at your word that you have good intentions,” Bruns told Cusimano. “But unfortunately you have a long history of involvement with various substances.”

Bruns sentenced the defendant to community control. As part of the terms of her probation, Cusimano must complete a substance abuse treatment program. If she fails to comply, she could face up to 12 months in prison.

By Anthony Baker