EATON — Two men charged with violent assaults were declared incompetent to stand trial in Preble County Common Pleas Court last week. Judge Stephen R. Bruns presided.
Xavier M. Miller, 19, of West Alexandria, was ruled incompetent to stand trial at a hearing held on March 10. Miller was indicted on charges of attempted murder, felonious assault and domestic violence in August 2019. He was initially ruled incompetent in September following an evaluation conducted at the Forensic Evaluation Service Center in Hamilton.
Miller allegedly assaulted and caused serious physical harm to his mother in July 2019. Miller used a ten-inch knife to carry out the assault, according to court records. Police were called to the victim’s residence in Eaton early in the morning on July 18. Miller was later taken into custody a few blocks from the scene.
Judge Bruns made his ruling after consulting a court-ordered report submitted by Miller’s physician. Bruns ordered Miller to continue to be held at Summit Behavioral Healthcare Center in Cincinnati for at least six months, or “until such time as he can be restored to competency.” Miller has already been held in custody at Summit since September of last year.
Joshua Ruebush, 42, of Eaton, was ruled incompetent to stand trial on charges of domestic violence and assault in a hearing held March 11. Ruebush is accused of assaulting his grandmother. His record includes two previous domestic violence convictions.
A physician’s evaluation found that Ruebush was “unlikely to be restored to competency” within six months, the period of time he is allowed to be held in custody by law without being either charged or committed.
“Given the results of the evaluation, the state would have no option but to ask for the case to be dismissed,” Preble County Assistant Prosecutor Eric Marit said. Marit asked that Ruebush be returned to custody, also at Summit Behavioral Healthcare Center, until such time as civil commitment proceedings can begin.
The defendant’s attorney, Kevin Lennen, objected, however.
“Based on the case being dismissed, I’m not sure on what basis the court would be holding him,” Lennen said.
Judge Bruns ordered the case dismissed. Bruns also ordered the defendant to continue to be held in custody for 10 days pending the completion of commitment proceedings. If those proceedings are not completed by March 21, Ruebush will have to be released.
Also in court Wednesday, March 12:
Kurtis A. Brown, 29, of Eaton, was sentenced on two counts of assault. Additional charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest were dismissed in accordance with a plea agreement between Brown and the Preble County Prosecutor’s Office. Brown’s previous record includes charges of breaking and entering, criminal endangering and petty theft.
Brown blamed his dependence on drugs and alcohol for his legal issues.
“I would like the chance to get the help that I need,” Brown told the court.
Bruns sentenced the defendant to 12 months of incarceration on each count, to be served concurrently, with credit for 92 days already served. Bruns indicated he might consider a request for judicial release, however, provided Brown participates in substance abuse treatment while in prison.
“We’re going to see if you’re serious about getting that help,” Bruns said.
Logan Rector, 25, of Richmond, was sentenced on charges of probation violation on an underlying charge of aggravated possession of drugs.
“I have a letter from your probation officer cataloguing your failures to comply, and recommending a prison sentence,” Bruns told the defendant. Bruns said that recent reports indicated things had improved, however.
“You’ve had your first clean drug test in a while, so good work,” Bruns said. “But I want you to know how close you are to having the sun, the moon and the sky fall in on you.”
Christopher R. Smith, 36, of Camden, was sentenced on charges of possession of heroin and illegal conveyance of drugs of abuse onto grounds of a governmental facility, namely the Preble County Jail. Smith’s attorney, John Cunningham, asked the court for a continuance to allow his client to get his family affairs in order, citing the fact that Smith had consistently shown up for court.
“He’s concerned about the possibility of going to prison without having these issues in order,” Cunningham said.
Assistant Prosecutor Marit objected, however, saying Smith had had plenty of time to settle his affairs pending sentencing.
“Him doing what he’s supposed to do — that is, coming into court — is not really a reason for a continuance,” Marit told the court.
Judge Bruns denied the defendant’s request for a continuance.
Cunningham spoke further in his client’s defense before sentence was handed down, saying he hadn’t intended to carry the drugs into the jail, having assumed they were confiscated while police were patting him down.
“He was not trying to defile the sanctity of the jail,” Cunningham said.
Smith also spoke in his own defense.
“This is the first time I’ve ever been in a courtroom and admitted my wrongs,” Smith said. “I’m just asking for a fighting chance for my family.”
Judge Bruns sentenced Smith to three years of community control. A reserved prison term of 36 months could be imposed if Smith violates the terms of his probation.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @improperenglish