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Felonious assault gets man 15 years in prison

A Mason Township man’s defense that his dog caused him to fire his gun into a vehicle containing a married couple and a 2-year-old wasn’t convincing for the jury who found him guilty last week, nor the judge who sentenced him to 15 years in prison Wednesday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

Judge Charles Cooper sentenced Dana Clay, 48, of 3725 County Road 64, Willow Wood, to two years in prison for each of his three counts of felonious assault as well as three years per count for a gun specification, all to run consecutively.

“While we are disappointed in the decision of the jury, (Clay) still contends it was an accident,” Clay’s defense attorney Mike Gleichauf said, asking that the court consider the minimum sentence and that is run concurrently.

Cooper said the purpose of the sentence was to “protect the public and punish the offender,” and that concurrent terms would not meet that goal.

Clay is seeking to appeal the decision of the court and attorney Warren Morford was temporarily assigned to handle the case.

Clay was accused of shooting a muzzleloader into the windshield of the vehicle of the victims, a married couple from Columbus, after an argument between Clay and his girlfriend, Nancy Ross. The incident happened March 25. Also in the car was a 2-year-old boy, the son of Ross’ daughter, Michelle Jeter.

All three were treated for non-life-threatening injuries from shattered glass and lead from the gun. Clay fled before police arrived, and he wasn’t arrested until May 12 when he was found at his mother’s home in Lincoln County, W.Va.

A Pedro man was also sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison for felonious assault.

Donny R. Cremeans, 33, of 1101 Township Road 199, Pedro, pleaded guilty to unauthorized use of a vehicle, domestic violence and felonious assault through his attorney, Philip Heald.

Cooper also ordered Cremeans to pay court costs and to serve six months in county jail, which will run concurrently to his prison sentence, giving him credit for time served.