Military service helped him 2 other times, but felony conviction sends Marine vet to prison
By Cary Ashby | Norwalk Reflector, Ohio (Tribune News Service) | Published: January 21, 2016
Former Greenwich, Ohio, resident Brett A. Jones, 27, of Mansfield, was sentenced Wednesday to 17 months in prison.
“I have a drug problem; I need help. That’s about all I have to say,” said Jones, who served in Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps.
Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway told Jones he had taken his military service into consideration after this first two probation violations and didn’t impose a prison sentence, but “instead you’ve committed a new felony.” Conway said there was a third violation that prosecutors filed recently but was dismissed.
On Dec. 8 in Richland County Common Pleas Court, Jones pleaded guilty to complicity to theft from a person in a protected class. He was convicted of helping steal the purse from a woman who was older than 60 at the Mansfield Walmart.
Probation officer Jason Shupe, during Wednesday’s local hearing, gave the court a breakdown of the Richland County case and Jones’ time on probation since the fall. He said Jones and his girlfriend fled in a vehicle from Mansfield and crashed on Ohio 13 where it crosses Interstate 71.
“They fled from the vehicle,” the probation officer said.
Once Jones and his girlfriend were located, police found syringes on Jones, Shupe added. He also said prosecutors dismissed a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia because the case was resolved through Jones’ felony conviction.
“Since November he’s been pretty much incarcerated,” Shupe told Conway. “From what I understand he’s awaiting sentencing.”
The sanctions for Jones’ local probation violation was postponed in October. At the time, prosecutors planned to keep him under supervision, depending on how he did.
In the fall, Jones didn’t report he was charged with criminal mischief through Mansfield Municipal Court, Shupe said. The case eventually was dismissed.
In the fall of 2011, Jones was convicted locally of attempted abduction and disrupting public service for violently threatening a woman over sex.
“I don’t believe he had a prior felony prior to this case,” said Huron County Public Defender David Longo, who called the Richland County theft “a snatch-and-grab purse incident.”
Greenwich Police Officer Aaron Smith arrested Jones on Sept. 24, 2010. He used a hunch to locate Jones and the 29-year-old female victim at her apartment. The officer received a call on the department’s cell phone in which a woman was heard requesting help and Smith overheard a struggle.
Twenty to 30 minutes before the emergency call, Smith encountered Jones at the Hunter Brew Bar in Greenwich, where he had been kicked out after a disturbance there. Prosecutors have said the victim didn’t want Jones to be arrested, so she allowed him to come home with her and Jones demanded sex from her, but she said no and he kept her from completing her emergency call. Police have said Jones smashed the victim’s head on the head board of the bed and used glass from a destroyed mirror to threaten her.
Smith had the Huron County Sheriff’s Office track the location of the woman’s call using a “ping” from a nearby cell phone tower. The officer only had an approximate area. Smith used a hunch and went to the victim’s apartment. Some of Jones’ friends arrived to check on him about the time deputies and New London officers arrived to assist the Greenwich officer.
“When Smith got there, he interrupted what happened. It’s a good thing he got there,” Greenwich Police Chief Steve Dorsey said shortly after the incident. “He did a good job. He used his common sense.”
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