(Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)
BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
VAN WERT - Court hearings for the Van Wert County Court of Common Pleas returned to the courthouse on Tuesday following the completion of the third floor renovation project and courtroom restoration work which has been ongoing since late spring. Those sitting under the stained glass dome in the refurbished courtroom waited as nine persons made court appearances.
One of those to appear was a Convoy man accused of rape. Ralph Moorman, 41, pleaded guilty to a bill of information containing two first-degree felony rape charges. A separate case with two counts of rape and one count of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles was dismissed in exchange for the guilty pleas to the two new rape charges.Moorman was arraigned on the previous charges originally on Aug. 8. At that time he was incarcerated at the New Castle Correctional Facility in New Castle, Indiana. No further information about the charges was released. Moorman will be sentenced on Dec. 19.
Five others entered guilty pleas on Wednesday. Christopher Blue, 33, Van Wert, was ordered held on a $10,000 bond after he pleaded guilty to heroin possession, a felony of the fifth degree. Blue was charged in connection with a Dec. 1, 2011 incident. A separate case against Blue was dismissed in exchange for the guilty plea in this case.
Taylor Agler, 20, Van Wert, pleaded to a pair of drug trafficking charges, each a felony of the fifth degree. The charges against Agler date back to January. A specification that she used a 2006 Ford Focus in the commission of the offenses was also a part of the pleas. Two other drug charges filed against Agler were dropped. She will be sentenced in approximately six weeks.
Ashley Burk, 24, Van Wert, admitted to a fifth-degree felony heroin possession charge. She was found with the drug on Aug. 20. Sentencing will take place around Christmas.
A Ottawa woman was granted treatment in lieu of conviction after pleading guilty to theft of drugs, a fourth-degree felony. Kari Johnson, 29, was charged with stealing Percocet from a patient on May 31. With treatment in lieu granted, further proceedings were stayed pending the completion of her treatment program.
Theodore King, 27, Van Wert, was also granted treatment in lieu of conviction after pleading guilty to fifth-degree felony drug possession. King was found with Percocet on Aug. 19. King will have one year to successfully complete his treatment program. Charges against him were stayed until that time.
A Van Wert man was charged with gross sexual imposition, a felony of the fourth degree. David Sheets, 41, was placed on community control for three years and given a 90-day and a 30-day jail sentence. Sheets must also perform 200 hours of community service, complete a psychological treatment plan, and pay fees and court costs. A 15-month prison sentence was deferred pending the successful completion of community control. Sheets was also declared a Tier 1 Sex Offender and must register with law enforcement annually for the next 15 years.
Carl Buckner, 67, Ohio City, was placed on three years of community control for a reduced charge of attempted cultivation of marijuana, a felony of the third degree. As part of community control, Buckner must spend 30 days in jail, perform 200 hours of community service, complete a substance abuse treatment program, give up his drivers license for six months, and pay fees and court costs. A 12-month prison sentence was deferred pending the successful completion of community control.
Calvin Placke, 18, Middle Point, was sentenced to three years of community control for a pair of breaking and entering charges, each a felony of the fifth degree. As part of community control, Placke will serve a pair of 30-day jail sentences, one immediately following high school graduation. Placke must also complete 200 hours of community service, pay fees and court costs, as well as pay his share of restitution totaling $1,300 which is split between four victims in the case. A nine-month prison sentence was deferred pending the successful completion of community control.