EATON — Preble County Common Pleas Court heard cases involving drugs and community control violation Tuesday, Jan. 14. Judge Stephen R. Bruns presided.
Chester T. Neathery, 36, of West Manchester, was sentenced on charges of failure to comply with order or signal of a police officer. Neathery was indicted in Sept. 2019 after attempting to flee from police in a motor vehicle.
“Mr. Neathery is deeply remorseful for his actions,” defense attorney Brian Muenchenbach told the court before the sentence was handed down. “Since his release from prison, he’s done nothing but turn his life around.”
Judge Bruns sentenced the defendant to nine months of incarceration, with three days credit for time already served. He also imposed a three-year driver’s license suspension.
“I view these cases of fleeing at high speed very seriously,” Bruns told the defendant. “You’re putting the lives of the officers and the general public in danger. I think that not imposing a prison sentence would demean the seriousness of the offense.”
Bruns indicated he might look favorably upon a request for judicial release “after an appropriate period of time has passed,” provided Neathery displays good behavior while incarcerated.
Michael Lee Bird, 29, of Lewisburg, pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated possession of drugs. Bird asked to be taken into custody and evaluated for substance abuse treatment following sentencing, as he has no place to live, was unable to complete a treatment program in Muncie, Indiana, due to medical issues, and feared he was at risk of imminent relapse.
Judge Bruns accepted the defendant’s plea but ordered a pre-sentencing investigation; Bird’s next court appearance is a final disposition hearing. Bruns also ordered Bird to be released on $5,000 bond, indicating that in lieu of posting bond, the defendant could report to the Preble County Jail by 7 p.m. that evening.
Thomas A. Betzner, 33, of West Alexandria, was sentenced to three years of community control on charges of aggravated possession of drugs and criminal trespass. A reserved sentence of 12 months incarceration could be imposed if Betzner fails to complete the terms of his probation, to include participating in a recovery program as well as finding and maintaining employment.
Curtis E. Wysong, 30, of West Alexandria, entered a plea of admit to community control violation on underlying charges of obstructing justice. Defense attorney Jim Van Zant claimed the defendant had been unable to complete the terms of his probation by participating in a substance abuse treatment program, largely because of issues securing reliable transportation.
Judge Bruns sentenced Wysong to 42 days incarceration in the Preble County Jail, with 12 days credit for time served. Wysong was ordered to report to the jail by Jan. 21.
Scott E. Griffith, 41, of Lancaster, entered a plea of admit to community control violation on underlying charges of aggravated possession of drugs. Griffith’s Probation Officer, however, indicated the violation charge was an old one, and recommended that Griffith’s probation be terminated successfully.
“I’m guessing you don’t have a problem with that,” Judge Bruns told the defendant. Bruns congratulated Griffith and ordered his probation terminated.