EATON — Preble County Common Pleas Court heard cases involving theft, drugs, escape, and resisting arrest Tuesday. Judge Stephen R. Bruns presided.
Robert B. Sigmon, 26, of Richmond, was sentenced on charges of criminal damaging or endangering, resisting arrest, and escape. On or about June 24, 2019, according to court documents, Sigmon caused physical harm to a police officer while attempting to escape from the officer’s vehicle. Sigmon pled guilty to the charges in March.
Defense attorney John Cunningham asked for leniency. Cunnngham argued that the results of a pre-sentencing investigation conducted by Preble County authorities revealed that Sigmon “has been doing great in Indiana,” where he is currently on probation in relation to another offense, and that in fact the Indiana probation officer’s report on Sigmon was “glowing, if I could use a crazy term.”
Cunningham argued that drugs had gotten the better of his client, but that Sigmon was still young enough to turn things around.
“He’s in his twenties, and there’s no better time than that for him to strike while the iron is hot,” Cunningham said.
Sigmon spoke briefly in his own defense before sentence was handed down, saying he planned to complete coursework for his GED in hopes of providing a better life for his daughter.
“I’m not a bad person. I just want to have a good life,” Sigmon said.
“I’ve been debating making this comment, but what an incredibly stupid thing to do,” Judge Bruns told the defendant, referring to Sigmon’s botched escape attempt. “You could’ve hurt yourself, and you put a police officer at risk.”
Bruns sentenced Sigmon to three years of community control and 30 days of incarceration in the Preble County Jail, to be served intermittently in order to allow Sigmon to maintain employment. Sigmon was also ordered to complete substance abuse treatment at a program in which he is already enrolled; pay a fine of $1,000; and perform 200 hours of community service.
A reserved prison sentence of 36 months could be imposed if Sigmon fails to abide by the terms of his probation.
“In different times, there may have been a different disposition in this case,” Bruns warned the defendant, referring to current efforts to avoid sentencing offenders to prison time in light of the Covid-19 epidemic. “You’re getting a break.”
Also in court Tuesday:
Frances M. Rinehart, 24, of Eaton, was scheduled to enter a guilty plea to a charge of theft from a person in a protected class. According to court documents, Rinehart stole approximately $360 in U.S. currency from a disabled person in February or August of 2018. Rinehart reportedly works as a resident assistant at an assisted living facility in Dayton.
Rinehart was intended to enter a diversion program in accordance with plea negotiations between her attorney and the Preble County Prosecutor’s Office. As part of that program, Rinehart’s guilty plea would be held in abeyance, but could be entered into the record and immediately result in sentencing if she violates the terms of the program.
“Generally it involves staying out of trouble and completing some community service,” Judge Bruns told the defendant. “But it’s also a big stick hanging over your head.”
Rinehart’s attorney, Edmund Khalil, objected to a proviso in the plea agreement, however, that specified Rinehart would have to give up her current job and no longer be allowed to work in the assisted living industry. Khalil claimed this had not previously been part of his discussions with prosecutors.
As a result of the discrepancy, Rinehart’s plea was withdrawn and a new hearing set for May 19 to allow the defendant time to consult with her attorney.
Amber N. Tipton, 39, of New Paris, was ordered to pursue substance abuse treatment in lieu of conviction on charges of endangering children, possession of drug abuse instruments, illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of heroin. Tipton was indicted in Sept.2019; a warrant was issued for her arrest after she failed to appear for a scheduled hearing in March.
Roger Karr, 47, of Lewisburg, was scheduled to appear for sentencing on charges of burglary and petty theft. A warrant was issued for Karr’s arrest after he failed to appear for the sentencing hearing.
Brandon Vorhis, 31, of West Alexandria, was sentenced on charges of illegal conveyance of drugs of abuse onto the grounds of a specified governmental facility, illegal conveyance of weapons, aggravated possession of drugs and possession of heroin. Judge Bruns sentenced Vorhis to three years of community control; a reserved prison sentence of 36 months could be imposed if Vorhis fails to abide by the terms of his probation.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @improperenglish