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Court sets sentencing for couple

A Coal Grove couple face sentencings this month on charges they stole money from First United Methodist Church in Ironton.

Thursday, November 11, 1999

A Coal Grove couple face sentencings this month on charges they stole money from First United Methodist Church in Ironton.

Barbara Harper, 45, 413 High St., Coal Grove, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a Sept. 13 indictment charging her with grand theft, a fourth-degree felony, and complicity to theft, a fifth-degree felony, Lawrence County prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr. said.

James Harper, 413 High St., Coal Grove, pleaded guilty to an amended indictment charge of receiving stolen property, a first-degree misdemeanor, Collier said.

Sentencing for the couple is set for Nov. 23 before visiting Judge Everett Burton in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

The couple knowingly deprived the church of more than $5,000 between 1995 and April 1999, according to the indictments.

Mrs. Harper was church secretary and wrote checks on church accounts to herself and her husband during those years, said Mack Anderson, assistant county prosecutor.

Three other residents also pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges in common pleas court, Collier said. They were:

– Jeffery Lutz, 24, Route 2 Box 299B, Ironton: on a charge of robbery, a second-degree felony. Judge Richard Walton sentenced Lutz to three years in prison, ordered him to pay court costs and gave him credit for 61 days in the county jail.

– Toby Nelson, 23, 2509 S. Fourth St., Ironton: on a charge of robbery, a second-degree felony. Walton sentenced Nelson, a co-defendant with Lutz, to three years in prison, ordered him to pay court costs and gave him credit for 73 days in the county jail.

– Danny Martin, 44, Route 5 Box 555, South Point: on a charge of trafficking in marijuana, a fifth-degree felony. Judge Frank McCown sentenced Martin to six months in prison, ordered him to pay a $2,500 fine and court costs, and suspended his driver’s license for six months.