WILMINGTON — A local man, who reportedly was involved in shooting a stolen gun while under the influence of alcohol and Xanax, will go to the STAR facility in late September.
In a plea agreement Russell E. Cole Jr., 19, of Wilmington, pleaded guilty to grand theft, burglary and theft, while gun specifications were dropped as part of negotiations, stated court paperwork.
Clinton County Chief Felony Prosecutor Brian A. Shidaker said Monday in arguing sentence he suggested the STAR program as appropriate given Cole’s young age and lack of criminal history.
Prior to the sentence being pronounced, Cole said he was “heavily under the influence” at the time of the incident.
Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck said his decision to send Cole to the STAR Community Justice Center rather than prison “was not a slam dunk.”
But the judge said STAR, which is in Franklin Furnace, Ohio, is punishment in that it will mean Cole will be “away from family and friends for a while.”
STAR provides individualized behavior-modification programming meant to enable people to make better decisions. A bed for Cole will be available there on Sept. 24.
“Defendant was 18 years of age at the time of the crimes and in need of direction and discipline in his life,” Rudduck stated.
The judge told Cole he hopes he uses STAR “to your advantage.”
After the hearing, Shidaker said law enforcement is not sure how many shots were fired or exactly where, but that witnesses downtown could hear the shots.
Cole was placed on community controls for two years. If he successfully completes STAR, he then will be monitored under a plan of the Clinton County Community Supervision Prison Diversion Program.
He and a co-defendant have been ordered to pay $5,852 in restitution to the theft victim.
If Cole violates his community control terms, he faces a 12-month prison term.
Gary Huffenberger can be reached at 937-382-2574, ext. 2512 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.