Man who killed girl in hit/skip sent back to prison

ROBERTS

LISBON — Todd R. Roberts, the Leetonia man sentenced to four years in 2014 for striking and killing 9-year-old Olivia S. Thompson with his vehicle, was sentenced to three additional years on Friday for violating his probation.

Roberts, 34, Coal Alley, Leetonia, was taken into immediate custody after Judge C. Ashley Pike voiced his disappointment in Roberts continuing to make bad decisions.

Roberts pleaded guilty in 2014 to aggravated vehicular homicide and failure to stop after an accident or collision. As a part of the plea agreement Roberts had his driver’s license suspended for 10 years and when Roberts was done serving four years in prison for the aggravated vehicular homicide charge, he was to attend counseling and go to nine local schools or organizations to speak about the dangers of driving recklessly or while impaired.

However, Assistant County Prosecutor Tammie Riley Jones said when Roberts got out of prison in early 2018, he went to the BMV and obtained a driver’s license in violation of the suspension order. Then when he was told to turn the license over to probation, Roberts reportedly said he had turned it over to the BMV. Jones said she had asked probation investigators to check with the BMV, and they have no record of him turning it in.

Roberts later took the stand and denied the allegation, stating he even signed paperwork stating he was revoking his own license.

Additionally, Jones said Roberts tested positive for THC, did not regularly attend counseling sessions and has been known to hang out with Jamie Pastore, a convicted felon. Jones said the County Drug Task Force has subpoenaed text messaging records showing communication between Roberts and Pastore where it appeared they were spending time together and Roberts was looking for marijuana.

Chief Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble questioned Roberts about these texts when he was on the stand, challenging why he was asking if another person Pastore knew had any “green” and why he was hanging out with Pastore around Oct. 12, right before Pastore overdosed.

Roberts said he has been like family with Pastore, while his own family has been distant with him. He claimed Pastore’s sister Ashley and himself have been encouraging Pastore to be a better person so he can be there for his family. Roberts also denied that he was looking for marijuana for himself, but was asking for someone else.

“So you were complicit in a drug transaction,” Gamble challenged with Roberts reluctantly agreeing he was.

When questioned by his defense attorney Fred Naragon, Roberts said the first counseling group Family Recovery recommended did not fit in with his work schedule, as he has been working full time. Then later he had transportation issues, but now they have set him up to attend counseling at the Oxford House in Salem, which allows him to walk to the sessions.

“Yes I’ve made mistakes,” Roberts said, just prior to Pike making a decision on resentencing him for violating his probation. “I wish the court could see me as a person, instead of a file. I’m a respectable person. I would do anything for anybody.”

Roberts continued his heart goes out to Thompson’s family, adding he has a daily reminder of what happened.

However, Jones pointed out earlier in the hearing the family, which was in the courtroom for the hearing, had hopes that something positive would come from their daughter’s death if Roberts had followed through with his probation terms. However, she said Robert’s actions since he got out of prison have been more of a “kick in the gut” and “a slap in the face” to the Thompson family.

Pike agreed listing Roberts’ violations and adding “you seem like you don’t feel like the rules apply to you.”

He dishonorably terminated his probation and sentenced Roberts to three years in prison.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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