NW man pleads guilty to assault on jail guard, break-ins, thefts

LISBON – A young New Waterford man pleaded guilty Monday in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court to several charges, including felonious assault for choking a guard at the county jail in March.

Alex Cook, 19, Crestview Road, New Waterford, had been scheduled for a jury trial on Monday morning, but decided instead to plead to at least some of the counts in three of the cases he was facing.

He pleaded to a second-degree felonious assault for causing serious harm to corrections officer Anthony Travers while in custody at the jail on other charges on March 16. According to accounts at the time, Cook had requested a roll of toilet paper, grabbed Travers and choked him until the officer lost consciousness.

Additionally, Cook pleaded guilty to counts three and 13 of one indictment, charges of burglary and receiving stolen property. According to court documents, count three involved trespassing into the home of Dale Hill, Millrock Road, New Waterford, to commit a criminal offense. Some of the other counts alleged the same thing happened on several occasions. Additionally, the receiving stolen property charge involved a 1988 pickup belonging to Bobby Blair, which he driving on Feb. 5, 2013.

Additionally, he pleaded guilty to all four charges of another indictment, charges of breaking and entering, receiving stolen property, arson and theft. Cook reportedly trespassed into the New Waterford Fire Department on Nov. 29, 2012, the same night he had in his possession a 2005 Ford Explorer owned by Shane Ryhal, which was taken from a Shell Gas Station in Boardman. Parts of the SUV were removed and it was taken to a wooded area near Millrock and Peace Valley Road and torched. Cook also had a Ford New Holland tractor belonging to Hill on Nov. 29, 2012.

Cook faces up to 18 years in prison if all counts were served consecutively. However, Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble said he plans to request three years. The assault charge carries a presumption of a prison term. Sentencing was set for Aug. 15 and bond remains in place until then. It had been set at $100,000 cash or surety.