Salem jewel thief sentenced

LISBON – A Salem woman who stole jewelry and an East Palestine man who took a laptop and phone were both sentenced by Judge C. Ashley Pike on Friday in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.

Melissa L. Mills, 29, West Pershing Street, Salem, was sentenced to nine months in prison for attempted burglary and two counts of burglary. In one of those cases, Mills reported had 12 items of jewelry inside her purse, at least some of which was identified as belonging to the resident of an Aetna Street, Salem, apartment. She also was accused of going into the home of Christopher Girty, North Broadway, Salem, and attempting to enter the home of Paul Taylor, East Fourth Street, Salem, both on Feb. 17.

According to Assistant County Prosecutor Ryan Weikart, while awaiting trial in this matter, Mills was charged with burglary and two counts of theft in Mahoning County. She has since pleaded guilty to burglary and theft in the matter and is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 28. Weikart said he believed the recommendation being made in Mahoning County was two years concurrent with whatever happened in Columbiana County.

After her defense attorney Richard Hura explained Mills has had serious substance abuse issues, Mills told Pike she would like to get help for her issues and be able to support her three little daughters. Before sentencing, Pike noted Mills has an extensive misdemeanor record.

Allan W. Murphy III, 20, East Martin Street, East Palestine, was sentenced to 12 months for burglary. He was charged after he entered a neighboring home through a window while the residents, Geraldine Tanchu and Jade Eichler, were asleep. He then attempted to steal a laptop computer and cell phone.

Murphy’s explantation when caught was reportedly a need to get onto Facebook.

In other matters in Common Pleas Court Friday:

-Shadi Murra, 37, Boardman, the owner of two businesses, was sentenced to four years probation. Murra had previously pleaded to failing to pay sales tax on receipts from the Wellsville and East Liverpool King’s Carry Outs between Nov. 2011 and Jan 2012, an amount of $9,231. Additionally, he had pleaded guilty to a trafficking in cigarettes charge. Defense attorney Scott Cochran noted during Friday’s hearing before Judge Scott Washam, Murra has already become current with his sales tax issues and cooperated with authorities in another matter. As part of his probation, he was ordered to remain current with his taxes.

Initially, Murra was charged with tampering with records, theft, five counts of failure to remit sales tax and trafficking in cigarettes without a license.

-A competency hearing was reset for Travis L. Weese, 38, Southeast Boulevard, Salem, charged with aggravated robbery after he allegedly used a knife to rob Circle K, East State Street, Salem, on March 25. Weese has been evaluated by Dr. John Matthew Fabian, who was asked by Weese’s defense attorney James Hartford to provide a second opinion. The next hearing is tentatively scheduled for March 1, if Fabian is available to testify.