EATON — A West Alexandria man could serve up to nine years in prison after being convicted of violently assaulting a female family member.
Xavier M. Miller, 20, was sentenced to six years of incarceration on charges of attempted murder and domestic violence in Preble County Common Pleas Court Wednesday, Oct. 7. Miller was initially ruled incompetent to stand trial after being indicted in Aug. 2019; that ruling was reaffirmed following a later hearing in March of this year.
According to court documents, Miller assaulted and caused serious physical harm to his alleged victim in July 2019. Miller reportedly used a ten-inch knife to carry out the assault. Police were called to the victim’s residence in Eaton early on the morning of July 18; Miller was later taken into custody a few blocks from the scene.
Attorney Kirsten Knight spoke in Miller’s defense.
“I know the court is well aware of my client’s mental health situation,” Knight said, citing the fact that Miller had recently spent nearly a year incarcerated at a behavioral health facility in Cincinnati. Knight claimed that while Miller’s actions were wrong, “a lot of that was a product of a life that was not his choice.”
A victim advocate read from a prepared statement before the sentence was handed down.
“I don’t want to see him go to prison, but as a victim… he needs to be punished for what he has done to me,” the statement from Miller’s alleged victim reads. “I have to live with the scars daily… I have to live with them every day and be reminded of what Xavier has done. And I did not deserve this.”
“Xavier’s actions brought him here today,” the statement continues. “Now Xavier needs to be punished, because he has to know he cannot do wrong to people and get away with it.”
According to Judge Stephen R. Bruns, under Ohio law Miller could be held in custody for an additional three years – half of his initial sentence – if Department of Corrections officials feel that his release “would not be in the best interest of the public.”
Also in court this week:
Brian Owens, 45, of Oxford, was arraigned on charges of domestic violence and felonious assault. Owens was taken into custody by Preble County Sheriff’s Deputies Oct. 1. According to Assistant Prosecutor Gractia Manning, the alleged victim in the case is still in the hospital, having suffered injuries in the assault that resulted in her spleen having to be removed.
Attorney Wayne Staton entered a not guilty plea on his client’s behalf. Owens’ next court appearance is a pre-trial conference, to be held Dec. 10.
Cathy Howard, 41, of Camden, was sentenced on charges of receiving stolen property and obstructing justice. Additional counts of falsification and arson were dismissed. According to court documents, Howard admitted that she was paid to help two other individuals tow a stolen vehicle to Rush Run Wildlife Area near Somerville, where the vehicle was then “set ablaze.”
Judge Bruns sentenced Howard to three years of community control on each charge. Howard must also pay $9,475 in restitution to Miami University, from which the vehicle was stolen. Reserved prison sentences of 12 and 18 months, to be served consecutively, could be imposed if Howard fails to abide by the terms of her probation.
Devion Lovett, 21, of Dayton, was sentenced on charges of improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle. Additional charges of possession of marijuana and illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia were dismissed.
Bruns sentenced Lovett to one year of community control. Per the terms of his probation, Lovett must forfeit the firearm specified in the case, take a “critical cognitions” course, and perform 50 hours of community service.
Eric McDermitt, 50, was sentenced on charges of breaking and entering and escape. According to court documents, McDermitt stole three puppies after breaking into the Preble County Humane Society in June 2019; he was charged with escape when he failed to return to court after being granted a temporary two-hour release to secure bail money.
Bruns indicated he’d been considering sending McDermitt to a community-based correctional facility, but that the defendant was now ineligible because of active warrants for his arrest in another state. Accordingly, Bruns sentenced McDermitt to 18 months of incarceration, with credit for 120 days already served.
Jonas C. Owens, 38, of New Paris, was sentenced on charges of aggravated possession of drugs, driving under suspension, and operating a motor vehicle under the influence with three or more priors. Bruns sentenced Owens to three years of community control, ordered the defendant to undergo a drug and alcohol abuse assessment, pay a $375 fine, and perform 100 hours of community service, and imposed a six-month driver’s license suspension.
A reserved prison sentence of 12 months could be imposed if Owens fails to abide by the terms of his probation.
Stacey A. Denham, 39, of New Lebanon, was sentenced on charges of identity fraud, petty theft, and aggravated possession of drugs. Additional counts of obstructing official business, illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia, and criminal trespass were dismissed.
According to court documents, Denham presented fraudulent identification after being stopped by law enforcement officers. While incarcerated, she later used an identification number associated with another inmate to purchase goods from vending machines and other sources.
Bruns sentenced Denham to five years of community control, and ordered the defendant to undergo substance abuse treatment at a community-based correctional facility in Cincinnati. A reserved prison sentence of 12 months could be imposed if Denham fails to abide by the terms of her probation.
Finally, Darra D. Taylor, 51, of New Paris, appeared via video teleconference for an ILC violation hearing on underlying charges of aggravated possession of drugs. Taylor’s attorney, James Van Zant, asked for a 30-day continuance in the case; Van Zant told the court that Taylor is the primary caregiver for an elderly person. Taylor’s probation officer also recommended a continuance.
A warrant for Taylor’s arrest was issued eight months ago, according to Bruns, after Taylor failed to check in for a meeting with her probation officer. Taylor has reportedly not been in contact with the probation office since that time.
“Eight months without any contact while you’re on ILC is very disturbing to me,” Bruns told the defendant. “I think it’s a pretty good indication that you’re not taking this at all seriously.”
Bruns agreed to order the continuance nonetheless. Taylor was released on her own recognizance; her next court appearance is a hearing scheduled for Nov. 10.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook or Instagram @mproperenglish