EATON — A man charged with burglary and sex offenses was ruled competent to stand trial in Preble County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday, May 11. Judge Stephen R. Bruns presided.
Saul Smith, 29, appeared for a competency hearing on charges of burglary and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor or corruption of a minor. According to court documents, Smith was indicted in Aug. 2020 after reportedly engaging in sexual conduct with a person more than 13 but less than 16 years of age.
Court records indicate that Smith “did, by force, stealth, or deception,” trespass in an occupied structure with the intention of committing the crime. Smith was judged incomeptent to stand trial in Nov. 2020 following a report from the Forensic Evaluation Service Center in Hamilton; he was transported to a behavioral healthcare facility in Cincinnati to pursue treatment to restore him to competency in Feb. 2021.
Smith was ordered released from custody following Tuesday’s hearing; as part of the terms of his release, Smith must wear an ankle monitor and have no contact with his alleged victim. Smith was also ordered to avoid unsupervised contact with any minor family members.
Smith’s next court appearance is a pretrial conference to be held July 30. His trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 9.
Also in court Tuesday:
Jeffrey Powell, 27, of West Manchester, was sentenced on charges of attempted grand theft of a motor vehicle; an additional charge of receiving stolen property was dismissed. Powell’s previous record includes charges of improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle and aggravated possession of drugs.
According to a sentencing memorandum filed by defense attorney Valerie Sargent-Wood, Powell is “bright, able-bodied, and may become a productive member of society” pending drug abuse treatment. Sargent-Wood stated that Powell is committed to engaging in any treatment ordered by the court.
Judge Bruns sentenced Powell to five years of community control. Powell was ordered to undergo a substance abuse evaluation and perform 100 hours of community service; a prison term of up to 12 months could be imposed if Powell fails to honor the terms of his probation.
Erica L. Jones, 33, of Camden, pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated possession of drugs and illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia. Jones’ request to pursue substance abuse treatment in lieu of conviction on the charges was denied after she failed to appear for a hearing in April.
Judge Bruns accepted the defendant’s guilty plea and ordered a pre-sentencing investigation to be carried out in the case. Jones’ next court appearance is a final disposition hearing, to be held June 22.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish