EATON — An Illinois man was granted judicial release on drugs and weapons charges in Preble County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday, Dec. 8. Judge Stephen R. Bruns presided.
James J. Weinert, 42, of Watseka, IL, was indicted in Sept. 2019 on charges of aggravated possession of drugs, illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia, operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle, and having weapons while under disability.
According to court documents, Weinert’s prior history includes arrests for burglary, theft, escape, domestic battery and assault in Illinois. A sentencing memorandum filed by the Preble County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office called Weinert a “career criminal,” saying he’d been to prison in his home state no less than four times.
Weinert was sentenced to two years of incarceration on the most recent charges in Dec. 2019, with 120 days’ credit for time served. He appeared via video teleconference on Tuesday to ask Judge Bruns for an early release.
“I have housing and the possibility of employment, and I plan on continuing my sobriety,” Weinert told the judge.
Judge Bruns told Weinert that he was impressed by the contents of a letter he’d received from the defendant.
“I’m inclined to believe that you’re sincere,” Bruns said.
Bruns ordered Weinert released and further sentenced him to three years of community control. Weinert must complete a drug and alcohol assessment as part of the terms of his probation.
“I’ll rely on the professionals to determine what you need to stay sober,” Bruns said.
Also in court Thursday:
Kasie L. Hesler, 28, of Lewisburg, was ordered to pursue substance abuse treatment in lieu of conviction on charges of escape. A further charge of obstructing official business was dismissed.
“The stakes could not be higher for you to complete this program, and keep your life where you want it to be,” Judge Bruns told the defendant.
William Estes, 33, of Eaton, was sentenced on charges of aggravated possession of drugs. His previous record includes charges of theft, aggravated trafficking in drugs and possession of heroin. According to court documents, Estes was arrested in March after overdosing at his mother’s home in Eaton; a syringe and “a baggie of meth that someone threw in the toilet prior to law enforcement’s arrival” were also found at the scene.
“I know I’ve made mistakes,” Estes told the court prior to sentencing. “I know I have a drug problem, and I’m going to see that and fix that part of me. I also have a problem with mental health. I’m tired, honestly.”
Judge Bruns sentenced the defendant to three years of community control; a reserved sentence of 12 months of incarceration could be imposed if he fails to complete the terms of his probation, which include treatment “in an appropriate program that can address all the issues that you’ve acknowledged are present,” according to Bruns.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish