LISBON - Joshua Rudder, the man who drove several people intent on burglary to a home where Holly Carosiello was shot and killed, was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday.
Rudder, 22, last known address St. Clair Avenue, East Liverpool, pleaded guilty in July to complicity to burglary in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court. But according to Assistant Prosecutor Tammie Riley Jones, Rudder has been uncooperative with investigators looking into the death of Carosiello and refused to assist in the prosecution of others involved. Jones said Rudder has minimized his involvement, claiming he was merely the driver.
"In fact, the defendant's efforts to minimize his conduct by claiming that he was unaware of the plan to burglarize the Carosiello residence until just prior to dropping off his co-defendants are contradicted by the defendant's text messages discussing the plan at least an hour before," Jones said, reading from a sentencing memorandum before Judge C. Ashley Pike.
Jones requested a six-year prison sentence, noting previous attempts to get Rudder to respond positively to probation have failed. She listed several previous convictions starting in 2009 and how in each case, while still on probation, Rudder managed to pick up more charges. Jones said only three months after his involvement in the Carosiello burglary, Rudder was charged again with theft and criminal trespassing at a home in Salem. The charges included the home's doors being kicked in or opened with a crow bar, then items carried outside into a U-haul truck.
County Municipal Court records show Rudder pleaded no contest to those charges in July.
"Even after having been complicit in the commission of a burglary offense in which a person (reportedly the defendant's girlfriend) was killed, it was only three months later that the defendant was engaged in similar criminal conduct," Jones said.
Carosiello, Jamie Adkins and Dustin Green were all driven by Rudder to the home of Carosiello's estranged husband on Township Line Road on Aug. 12, 2011. Jones said the group was there to steal money and drugs, when Carosiello was shot and killed. She noted Rudder was involved in "organized criminal activity."
Defense attorney Fred Naragon pointed out Rudder has never been convicted of a felony. He had only misdemeanor cases in his past. Naragon also said Rudder had dropped them off and was not even present when the crime was committed.
"I apologize to her family and her friends," Rudder said prior to sentencing. "I'm just trying to do better in my life, to be there for my family and my kids."
Pike was unswayed by the defense, noting Rudder seems to have little regard for other people's property and an example needed to be set that such activity will not be tolerated. He sentenced Rudder to five years, followed by three year's probation.
"Anything less would demean the serious nature of the offense," Pike said, urging Rudder to take advantage of his time away.
Adkins, 30, Dresden Avenue, East Liverpool, pleaded guilty in August to involuntary manslaughter, burglary and complicity to commit burglary. He awaits sentencing next month. Green, 21, May Street, East Liverpool, pleaded guilty earlier this month to both complicity to commit burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary and will be sentenced in November.