Rusty Ray Altman gets year for violating protection order

LISBON — Rusty Ray Altman was sentenced to a year in prison by Common Pleas Court Judge Megan Bickerton after a jury found him guilty Thursday morning of violating a temporary protection order.

Altman, 46, who lists his address as either the county jail or Bell School Road, Rogers, was found by deputies inside the home of his former longtime girlfriend, Lisa A. Clark, Cream Ridge Road, Lisbon, on Oct. 18.

Following the trial, Altman requested a pre-sentencing investigation, a request which was denied by Bickerton. Without the pre-sentencing investigation, Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Gamble was able to provide Bickerton with a long list of Altman’s past convictions, which included at least 27 going back to 1992. Altman’s past includes drug-related crimes, crimes of violence and theft crimes.

During sentencing, Altman and his defense attorney, Paul Conn, indicated he intends to file an appeal. Bickerton also denied Altman’s request to be released and have his prison sentence placed on hold until after his appeal is complete. Although he was sentenced to a year in prison, Altman already has credit for 84 days served.

Conn had asked that despite Altman’s lengthy criminal record he be placed on community control and ordered to obtain substance abuse counseling.

“Rusty will continue to have issues if he does not get help for his substance abuse problems,” Conn said.

Bickerton agreed with the maximum one-year sentence recommended by Gamble instead. “I understand your past,” Bickerton said adding “You committed this offense when you were just placed on probation for being in the exact same place.”

Bickerton agreed Altman needs help for his substance abuse problems, but stated that is something he is going to have to choose to address himself.

Before the jury found Altman guilty, both Gamble and Conn finished the case with their closing arguments, giving them one more chance to remind the jury of the testimony of two sheriff’s deputies and Clark during the one-day trial on Wednesday.

Conn reminded the jurors that when Altman called her, Clark had told Altman he could come to her home to pick up his belongings. Gamble had pointed to the protection order which clearly stated only the court could change the terms of the protection order.

“You act at your own risk if you disregard this warning,” Gamble read, noting risk was underlined and warning was in all capital letters.

With Altman speaking out of turn a few times during the trial, Conn explained to the jury that while Altman “is from time to time a pain, he wants to make sure he gets his fair trial.”

Altman also appeared on Thursday afternoon in county Municipal Court, where he was sentenced to 260 days in jail for violating his terms of probation in four different cases from 2017 and 2018 cases. Those convictions were for assault, two counts of violating a protection order and aggravated menacing.

Of those cases, some were for his continued relationship with Clark. He was convicted for being found inside the home of Clark on July 7, 2018, when he threatened to kill Clark for stealing his drugs. Another charge was for being inside Clark’s home on March 28, 2017.

More of his criminal actions for which he was on probation included repeatedly punching another jail inmate, Michael Owens, in the head and face on Sept. 26.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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