• 48°

Man pleads guilty to arson charge

A homeless man accused of setting fire to an unoccupied apartment building will get help for the substance abuse problem that led to his brush with the law.

He and a husband-wife team accused of trying to steal farm gates from a Lawrence County barn were among those who entered guilty pleas Wednesday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

Randy Farris, 47, pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree felony arson and one count of fifth-degree felony breaking and entering. He was arrested in May after setting fire to the Sites apartment building in Chesapeake. He had been previously ordered to stay away from the property after he was caught trespassing.

Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Frank McCown sentenced Farris to 90 days in the county jail with credit for time served awaiting conclusion of his case. He further ordered Farris to undergo treatment at the Dayton Salvation Army in-house program and then spend four years in community controlled sanctions.

"I understand you've got problems. You've got to straighten up your life," Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Frank McCown told Farris.

Christopher Jenkins, 27, and Pauline Jenkins, 33, of 6887 County Road 6, Kitts Hill, pleaded guilty to two counts of fifth-degree felony breaking and entering. One count of fifth-degree felony theft against each of the Jenkins' was nullied.

McCown sentenced each of the two to three years community controlled sanctions. In addition, Christopher Jenkins was ordered to serve 31 days in the Lawrence County Jail but was given credit for time served awaiting conclusion of his case. Both of the Jenkins were ordered to stay away from the victims and their property.

A South Point man accused of stealing DVDs from the Wal-Mart Supercenter and then assaulting a Lawrence County Sheriff's deputy during his arrest was also sentenced Wednesday.

Jeff McConnel1, 22, of 143 Township Road 1012, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree felony assault on a peace officer, fourth-degree felony vandalism of a police cruiser, first-degree misdemeanor falsification and one count of first-degree misdemeanor theft.

McConnell was accused of trying to steal the DVDs, and then fighting with deputy Wes Collins, who was called to the store to arrest him. Once inside the cruiser, McConnell then began to kick and damage the car. He also gave false information at the time of his arrest. The incident occurred April 25.

McCown sentenced McConnell to 45 days home confinement due to health problems that precluded a jail stay. The home confinement will be followed by three years community controlled sanctions.

McConnell told McCown that in pleading guilty, he was anxious to "put it all behind him and get on with my life."

McCown said he hoped McConnell would think before acting in the future to prevent return visits to court.

"You're a pretty young fellow. I'm hoping you can put this behind you. Š Think about your family and friends. I don't want to see you here again."

A Proctorville woman pleaded guilty Wednesday in connection with the unlawful taking of a vehicle from South Point Ford.

Connie Christian, 27, of 1260 Lewis Drive, was sentenced to three years community controlled sanctions after she pleaded guilty to one count of fifth-degree felony theft by deception. Further, she agreed to pay $4,298.60 restitution to the victim in monthly payments of $200.

She is accused of making a down payment for a car with a check written on a closed account.

Her attorney, Philip Heald said the sanctions were appropriate punishment since Christian has had numerous personal problems that led to her to this mistake and she is unlikely to repeat it.

Christian said she was sorry for her actions, but much of her address to the court was inaudible.

A Pedro man accused of breaking into a neighbor's residence entered a guilty plea Wednesday as well.

Eric Carmon, 28, of 1738 County Road 41-S was arrested in October 2004 and charged with attempt to commit aggravated burglary. The charge was later amended to burglary. Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Richard Walton sentenced Carmon to six months in prison.