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Probation violations send man to prison

A man who eluded the long arm of the law for two years and repeatedly violated his probation will spend the next three years in prison for his mistakes.

Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge D. Scott Bowling sentenced Jeffrey S. Wilson, 22, of 972 County Road 67, Scottown, to prison after he admitted Wednesday he violated his probation, known formally as community control sanctions, when he failed to report to his probation officer for the past two years.

Wilson was sentenced to probation in July 2007 after he pleaded guilty to burglary. But in February 2008 a warrant was issued for his arrest when he failed to report to his probation officer as he was required to do, broke curfew and failed to perform required community service.

He was then ordered to successfully complete a rehabilitation program at the STAR Community Justice Center. But only weeks later, he was discharged from STAR and therefore did not complete the program there.

He was sentenced to 60 days home confinement and ordered to resume all facets of his probation.

But in January 2009 he was sent to prison when he violated his probation yet again because he failed to report to his probation officer, did not make restitution to his victim, did not pay court costs and failed to report a change of address.

He was granted judicial release later that year and skipped town. He was recently found in Columbus and brought back to Lawrence County.

“I just ask for leniency,” Wilson to Bowling. “I know I messed up.”

He brought along his employer, Chris McCormick, who told Bowling Wilson had been a model employee in the roughly three months he had been working at McCormick’s pizza restaurant in Columbus.

“My impression is, he has matured since he has been in trouble,” McCormick said.

Wilson’s attorney, Philip Heald, pointed out that even though Wilson has violated his probation more than once, “These violations have to do with not reporting. They have nothing to do with other crimes, they have nothing to do with being on drugs, or harming the community at large,” Heald said.

But Bowling disagreed. “We have a phrase for people like you: not amenable to community control sanctions,’” he said. “After three attempts to get your attention as to the importance of complying with community control sanctions, you took off for two years. You leave the court without any options other then to sentence you to three years,” Bowling said.

Also Wednesday, Joseph R. Christian, 21, of 4383 State Route 141, Kitts Hill, was sentenced to two years in prison after he admitted he violated his probation after failing to complete a program at the STAR Community Justice Center and failed to report to his probation officer as he was ordered to do.

Bowling denied Christian’s request for a brief furlough before being sent to prison.

“I would greatly appreciate it if I can to get a short furlough,” Christian said, “so I can spend time with my daughter. And I would like to see my grandfather, he isn’t in too good a health.”

Bowling did agree to a supervised courtroom visit.