Common Pleas Court hears multiple theft cases

Published 10:09 am Thursday, April 9, 2009

Theft and other related crimes were prominent on Wednesday’s Lawrence County Common Pleas Court docket.

Christopher Morrison, 49, of 96 Private Drive 63, Ironton, pleaded guilty to breaking and entering, vandalism and two counts of receiving stolen property. Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Mack Anderson recommended Morrison be sentenced to a total of 30 months in prison.

“I know it’s the maximum but I would point out the defendant has a very extensive criminal history,” Anderson said.

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Morrison asked Judge D. Scott Bowling for a brief furlough so he could take care of some vehicles he owned as well as his taxes and other personal business. He promised to surrender to authorities on time if he were allowed out.

“I’ve never tried to escape. There are no violent crimes on my record at all. I’m not going anywhere,” Morrison pleaded with Bowling. Anderson opposed the idea of a furlough, noting it could be yet another opportunity for Morrison to commit more crimes before he is sent to prison.

“My main concern is the protection of society,” Anderson said.

“I give you my word I wouldn’t do anything,” Morrison said. “I just need to tie up loose ends.”

Bowling denied the furlough request but said he would arrange a meeting between Morrison and his girlfriend early next week if the girlfriend could handle some of Morrison’s affairs for him.

Morrison is accused of breaking into the BP gasoline station on Charley Creek Road and stealing cigarettes. When he was committing these crimes, he was using a stolen car. Anderson said after the court hearing that Morrison’s criminal history included numerous theft and other similar charges.

“He’s made more appearances in court in his life than I have,” the veteran assistant prosecutor said.

Danny J. Sellards, 27, of 105 Ferguson St., South Point, bypassed much of the judicial process by pleading guilty at his arraignment. Sellards was initially charged with felony grand theft.

The charge was amended Wednesday to misdemeanor theft. Judge Charles Cooper sentenced Sellards to six months in jail but suspended the sentence and ordered him to serve four years community controlled sanctions. Sellards must also pay $3,000 in restitution to his victim.

John D. Richendollar, 21, of 629 S. Eighth St., Ironton, pleaded guilty to one count each of complicity to breaking and entering, complicity to grand theft and complicity to tampering with evidence. Cooper sentenced him to a total of three years in prison and ordered him to pay $22,000 restitution to his victim, Early Construction. Cooper said if Richendollar stays out of trouble while he is in prison he could be eligible for judicial release after one year but would be placed on probation for four years. “I’m sorry for the things I’ve done,” Richendollar said. “I’ve learned my lesson.”