EATON — A Camden man was sentenced in Preble County Common Pleas Court Wednesday, June 3, to probation for assaulting a woman and holding her captive inside his home. Judge Stephen R. Bruns presided.
Dustin Daniel Lester, 24, was sentenced on charges of domestic violence and probation violation. Additional counts of abduction, assault, intimidation of a witness in a criminal case, and possession of drug abuse instruments were dismissed in accordance with a plea agreement between Lester and the Preble County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Lester pleaded guilty to the domestic violence charge on May 20. According to court documents, Lester held the victim captive for approximately two days in February of this year in order to prevent her from testifying against him in the case. He also became “enraged,” “assaulting and choking” the victim until she escaped on Feb. 14.
Lester was later found hiding in a neighbor’s barn by Preble County Sheriff’s Deputies, at which point he was arrested and his home searched. Drugs and drug paraphernalia were found in Lester’s home at that time.
Lester is already on probation stemming from a charge of improperly handling a firearm from 2016. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Eric Marit recommended 18 months of incarceration in the Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Corrections, citing Lester’s criminal history and “belief that domestic violence is acceptable.”
Defense attorney Valerie Sargent-Wood, meanwhile, argued that mental health issues and methamphetamine use contributed to the crimes, and recommended that Lester be given probation, saying he “understood and admitted he did not always do “the right thing” where the alleged victim was concerned.
Lester spoke briefly in his own defense before sentence was handed down.
“If you would give me a second chance at Recovery and Wellness or somewhere, that would be very much appreciated,” Lester told the court.
Judge Bruns sentenced Lester to three years of community control on the domestic violence charge. A reserved sentence of 18 months incarceration – less 86 days for time already served — could be imposed if Lester fails to complete the terms of his probation, which include successfully completing substance abuse treatment via the MonDay program.
Bruns also continued Lester’s community control in the 2016 case.
“The offense that you committed — the description of it — is something I take very seriously,” Bruns told the defendant before he was once again taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies. “My disposition would normally be to send you to prison. So please: do what you need to do.”
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @improperenglish