LISBON -Brandon D. Stephens, 23, Hazel Street, East Liverpool, will spend six months at the Eastern Ohio Correctional Center for burglary. He additionally was sentenced to four years probation by Judge Scott Washam in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court on Thursday.
Court documents state Stephens trespassed into the home of Rachelle Greathouse, Edgewood Street, East Liverpool on May 5. Greathouse reportedly came home and found him in the process of stealing items from inside her house.
When East Liverpool police came to get him, Stephens reportedly fought and spit on them. The obstructing official business and resisting arrest charges stemming from those actions were handled by 90-day jail sentences imposed on each count in East Liverpool Municipal Court.
"I would like to apologize to the East Liverpool Police Department for the way I acted when I am intoxicated," Stephens read from a statement before he was sentenced on Thursday. "I appreciate the job that they do."
Stephens also told Washam he has deep remorse for the families he hurt and eventually would like to make amends with them.
"I promise you will not see me fail again," Stephens said.
Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble had suggested a 12-month sentence, but had also called Stephens a possible person on the bubble of either committing further crimes or becoming a productive member of society with counseling. Stephens reportedly has already attended two different counseling programs since the burglary.
Stephens' defense attorney Joseph Ludovici cited alcohol use as part of Stephens' problem, adding Stephens was highly intoxicated the day of the crime and did not remember much. However, Ludovici said what happened has served as a wake up call for Stephens. Stephens has two young children living out of state, which he is reportedly supporting. His current employer and his father were both in the courtroom to support him.
Additionally, Stephens' drinking has reportedly taken a toll on his health. Ludovici said Stephens has had a recent issue with acute pancreatitus and drinking again could kill him, which Ludovici noted is a good incentive not to break his probation by getting out of hand while drinking.
Washam additionally pointed out breaking Stephens' probation could lead to a prison sentence of up to 36 months. The judge also stated Stephens did not take responsibility for the crime when he was caught, originally trying to convince authorities the actions were those of his brother.
Because no bed is available at the EOCC at this time, Stephens will be asked to report to the facility on Feb. 20.