EL pair sentenced for break-in, beating

LISBON – Two East Liverpool people who reportedly broke into a man’s home and assaulted him in November 2012 were each sentenced on Thursday in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.

Both Steven R.J. Wright and Melissa J. Geer pleaded guilty to burglary in January. The charges were amended from aggravated burglary charges.

Court documents state they forced their way into the home of Mason Jones, Ohio Avenue, East Liverpool, on Nov. 10, 2012. Assistant Prosecutor Ryan Weikart explained it was believed they went there over a video game, which was reportedly taken from Geer’s home. During the fight that ensued, Jones ended up with injuries to his face, head, knee and ribs.

Prior to sentencing Geer, 34, Virginia Avenue, East Liverpool, she said she was sorry, but called the whole incident an overreaction and something which will not happen again.

“Calling it an overreaction is a complete understatement,” said Judge Scott Washam. “Mr. Jones was severely beaten and required lifeflight.”

He sentenced Geer to 13 days in the county jail and reminded her that unless she wants to do 18 months in prison she must refrain from drug use during her four-year probation. Washam said pre-sentencing records indicate Geer used marijuana throughout her pregnancy. Her baby is now two weeks old, and Washam gave her a month before she needs to report to the county jail.

Wright, 23, Railroad Street, East Liverpool, reportedly the father of the child, was sentenced to a six-month term at the Eastern Ohio Correctional Center starting March 27. He also will be on probation for the next four years and was warned about his apparent marijuana use. He is facing a potential sentence of 36 months in prison if he fails to abide by the terms of his probation.

Attorney Dominic Frank, who represented both Geer and Wright, said he has talked to both of them about drug use and about vigilante type activity. He called the incident something which spiraled out of control.

“This was a big misunderstanding,” Wright said. “I know it was wrong on my part. I’m sorry.”