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Probation violator denied furlough

A local man will get a new lawyer, but won’t get a furlough, no matter who his court-appointed attorney is.

That was the message from a Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Wednesday to an Ironton-area man accused of violating his probation.

Joseph Wilson, 23, of 404 Township Road 301, was on probation because he pleaded guilty in 2007 to charges of criminal trespass and possession of criminal tools.

On Wednesday, the day he was to have stood trial for his probation violation, Wilson told Judge D. Scott Bowling he wanted another court-appointed attorney to replace Mike Davenport.

“I don’t feel he’s actually fighting for me, you know?” Wilson said.

Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Jeff Smith told Bowling there was no evidence at all that Davenport was not adequately representing Wilson and for that matter, Wilson’s timing was off.

“It looks a little late,” Smith said.

Bowling listed the rules Wilson had broken while he was on probation.

Wilson had not reported to his probation officer since January. He had been charged with new crimes that are pending in the municipal court system and he had tested positive for two kinds of drugs.

“You’ve not given Mr. Davenport or any other lawyer a whole lot to work with,” Bowling told Wilson.

Wilson wanted to know if he admitted to the probation violation, could he have a 24-hour furlough before being sent to prison?

Bowling said “no.”

“I don’t do that for probation violations,” Bowling said. “You won’t get that no matter who your attorney is.”

Bowling appointed David Reid Dillon in place of Davenport and rescheduled the probation violation trial for this week.

In another matter, Melvin S. Keller, 44, of 1556 State Route 140, Oak Hill, pleaded guilty to burglary and aggravated arson. Cooper sentenced him to four years in prison.

Also Wednesday, Frank Thomas, 28, of 191 Township Road 155 E, Pedro, pleaded guilty to one count of forgery.

Judge Charles Cooper took the recommendation of the prosecutor’s office and sentenced Thomas to 30 days in jail followed by four years community control sanctions under intensive supervised probation (CCS/ISP) and ordered him to pay $1,320.80 in restitution jointly and severally with a codefendant, Rosetta Gunter.

“He has no prior record, no misdemeanors, no felonies. That is a great deal of the reason why we’re recommending this disposition,” Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Bob Anderson said.

Thomas’ attorney, Warren Morford, called Thomas’ crime “an exercise in stupidity. I think Mr. Thomas would be the first one to tell you that,” Morford said.

In a brief address that was largely inaudible, Thomas apologized to Cooper for his crime.

Gunter, 22, of 401 Center St., Ironton, followed Thomas in court and pleaded guilty to one count of forgery as well. She received the same sentence, with Anderson noting again that, like Thomas, she had no prior criminal record.