Ex-radio personality gets two years for stalking, burglary case

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 14, 2005

James Steven Rhinehardt said he was sorry, but a judge said he believed the man was not sorry enough.

The local radio personality told a crowded courtroom Tuesday he was sorry he stalked a Rome Township woman, but the judge said Rhinehardt was not remorseful enough and sentenced him to two years in prison.

Rhinehardt, 52, of Proctorville told the court, the victim, Ashley Murphy, and her family, who had been friends with his family for many years, that he was sorry for breaking into their home and leaving pornographic material in the young woman's car many times during a several month period.

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&#8221I love you all,“ Rhinehardt told the Murphy family.

&#8221I know you don't feel that I love you, but I do.“

He said his behavior was &#8221totally out of character“ and blamed it on a &#8221sickness“ that included sexual fetishes.

&#8221Something inside me just imploded,“ he said.

Rhinehardt's apology followed a number of testimonies from family members and friends, some of whom said they had known Rhinehardt for years and had never known him to be involved in such activity before now.

Rhinehardt said he still thought of himself as a &#8221good person“ who would turn himself around through &#8221therapy, medication and God.“

His daughter, Elizabeth Rhinehardt, told the court she still loved and supported her father and still thought of him as her hero.

&#8221I admire everything he's done, mistakes or not,“ she said.

Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Richard Walton, however, said while Rhinehardt had expressed some regret at what he had done, he was still unwilling to take full responsibility for what he had done or admit the magnitude of what he had done.

&#8221You're trying to show remorse but you're not willing to accept the full consequences of what you've done,“ Walton said.

He ordered Rhinehardt to spend two years in prison for the second-degree burglary charge and one year in prison for each of the three fourth-degree menacing by stalking charges.

Those sentences will be served concurrently, or at the same time. He was given credit for the time he has served since Walton ordered him to prison late last month when his attorney, Marty Stillpass, asked for a new sentencing date that would allow him more time to call the needed character witnesses to testify on his client's behalf.

After the sentencing, Ashley Murphy said she was glad to see Rhinehardt punished for what he had done, but that she was not entirely satisfied.

&#8221He has to go to prison for two years, but what he did to me will stay with me forever,“ she said. &#8221I'm not satisfied and I'm never going to be. I can't get back what he took away.“

Her mother, Pamela Murphy, said she did not understand why Rhinehardt had chosen her daughter and not someone else to be the object of his misbehavior. She and Rhinehardt's wife, Kim, have been friends since childhood and the two couples socialized together frequently over the years.

Rhinehardt was arrested outside the Murphy family residence in September of last year after local authorities placed the home under surveillance to determine who was behind the stalking incidents against the young woman.