Sentencing put off so man can prepare for another trial

LISBON – Although he had been scheduled for a sentencing hearing on a drug possession charge Thursday in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court, Mitchel O. Lacey of Hanoverton got another reprieve so he can help his attorney prepare for a trial before the judge in an unrelated case.

Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble said the two cases were unrelated and Lacey could have met with his attorney, Fred Naragon, at the county jail just as easily as elsewhere.

Lacey, 41, Bethesda Road, Hanoverton, is also charged with a receiving stolen property charge, accused of being found driving a 1997 Chevy pickup belonging to Robert Federer Sr. on April 1.

The drug charge claimed Lacey had a tenth of a gram of heroin inside a cigarette pack in the center console of a 1997 Ford Mustang he was driving on April 20, 2012. Lacey pleaded to that charge on May 9, 2013 and was scheduled for sentencing on July 11, Aug. 1, Sept. 26 and Thursday, only to have the sentencing hearings continued.

Once Judge Scott Washam determined Lacey could once again wait to be sentenced until after the trial before the judge on Monday, Gamble asked for bond to be increased to $25,000 cash or surety. Gamble said he believes Lacey is now more of a flight risk, facing possible sentencing for multiple offenses. However, Naragon said Lacey has always showed up to court and came to Naragon’s office for appointments each time. Naragon said Gamble’s request sounded like punishment for the case being continued.

Washam instead increased Lacey’s bond to $25,000 personal recognizance, allowing him to sign for his own release on Thursday afternoon.