Nicole Wells (right) enters a guilty plea at a hearing Wednesday morning in Van Wert County Court of Common Pleas. Wells was charged with importuning stemming from a January 2011 incident. Wells was one of 20 people to appear in court yesterday. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)
VAN WERT - A 62-year-old Delphos man pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree felony gross sexual imposition in connection with a February incident with a child under the age of 13. Michael Closson faces up to 60 months in prison at his June 27 sentencing and will be declared a Tier 3 sex offender, meaning he must report to law enforcement every 90 days for the rest of his life.
A second gross sexual imposition count against Closson was dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea.
Nicole Wells, 34, Convoy, entered a plea of guilty to importuning, a felony of the fifth degree. A third-degree felony count of unlawful sexual contact with a minor was dismissed in exchange for Wells' guilty plea.
The charges against Wells stem from a Jan. 14, 2011 incident involving an individual between the ages of 13 and 15. As the result of her plea, Wells will be classified as a Tier 1 sex offender and will have to register with law enforcement annually for 15 years. Sentencing was scheduled for June 27, at which time she may be given a maximum 12-month prison sentence.
Also pleading guilty on Wednesday in Van Wert County Court of Common Pleas was 23-year-old Phillip Cross of Delphos. Cross pleaded to a fifth-degree felony count of trafficking in drugs. A second count was dropped in exchange for his guilty plea. Cross was charged with attempting to sell drugs on Oct. 25, 2011. He faces a possible 12-month prison term when he is sentenced on June 27.
Steven Diltz, 27, Delphos, pleaded guilty to trafficking in drugs, a felony of the fifth degree. Diltz was ordered held in jail, but can be released on electronically-monitored house arrest if he qualifies. Sentencing is scheduled for June 13.
Nicholas Spencer, 20, Hicksville, entered a guilty plea to a reduced charge of attempted trespass in a habitation, a felony of the fifth degree. He was charged in connection with an Oct. 20 incident at a residence in the Thistlewood Apartments. Spencer was granted treatment in lieu of conviction, giving him one year to complete treatment in order to possibly have the charge dropped.
Kyle Barnes, 24, Van Wert, was sentenced to 60 days in jail as part of three years of community control. Barnes had earlier pleaded guilty to a pair of fifth-degree felony counts of trafficking in marijuana. Barnes must also serve an additional 30 days jail, perform 200 hours of community service, give up his drivers license for six months, complete a substance abuse treatment program, and pay fees and court costs. A nine-month prison term was deferred pending the successful completion of community control..
The former Century Bar bartender who admitted to her part in faking a break-in and theft at her workplace was sentenced to 60 days of electronically-monitored house arrest and 30 days in jail as part of three years of community control. Jessica Thompson, 26, Van Wert, had pleaded guilty to theft and falsification in a theft offense, both felonies of the fifth degree.
"I know I don't deserve a second chance, but I would like a second chance," Thompson asked the judge.
Thompson must also complete a substance abuse treatment plan, pay her share of $1,978.99 in restitution along with fees and court costs. A pair of concurrent nine-month prison terms were deferred pending the successful completion of community control.
Joshua Lane, 25, Van Wert, appeared in court for sentencing on a fifth-degree felony charge of trafficking in drugs. However, Lane is undergoing methodone treatment at the Center for Behavioral Health in Fort Wayne, and Judge Charles D. Steele questioned how long it would be until Lane would be able to be taken off methodone and sent to either prison or a rehabilitation center like the WORTH Center in Lima. Until that question is answered, Steele continued the sentencing until obtaining an answer.
Mindy Kremer, 28, Van Wert, was in court for a probation violation for testing positive for heroin. Kremer told Steele that she planned to move south with a relative in Troy once she was able to leave. "I can't stay clean in Van Wert County," she admitted.
Kremer was sentenced to complete the original two-year prison term she was given in 2007. Of that time, only about 180 days remain to be served.
Rita Jones, 42, of Lima, admitted to violating her probation by not paying child support. She was sentenced to serve 60 days in jail and was re-sentenced to three years of community control.Christopher Blue, 33, Van Wert admitted to violating the terms of his bond by not reporting to his probation officer. Blue was again released on bond with an explanation that he must strictly comply with all probation rules.
Kasey Schisler, 23, of Van Wert denied violating his bone by not reporting his address and phone number and by not reporting in person to his probation officer. A hearing was scheduled for Thursday morning, and Schisler was ordered held until that time.
Dennis McGinnis, 28, Lima, denied violating his probation. A hearing in the case will be set at a later date.
Seven persons were arraigned Wednesday morning. Each pleaded not guilty and will appear at a pretrial hearing in two weeks.
Samuel Whisman, 20, Van Wert was arraigned on two counts of trafficking in drugs, each a felony of the fifth degree. He was released on bond.
Allen McMillen, 28, Van Wert was arraigned for fourth-degree felony theft, He was ordered held on a $25,000 cash bond.
Emily Leasure, 23, Van Wert, was charged with receiving stolen property, a felony of the fifth degree. She was released on bond.
Michael Speakman, 20, Van Wert, was arraigned on a fifth-degree felony theft charge. Speakman was released on bond with an order to have no contact with the alleged victim in the case.
Shane Chestnut, 35, Defiance, was arraigned for violating a civil protection order, a felony of the fifth degree. He was ordered held on a $10,000 cash bond, and a no contact provision was ordered.
Anthony Pavlides, 30, Van Wert, was charged with two counts of trafficking drugs, each a felony of the fifth degree. He was released on bond.
Nathaniel Diltz, 28, Delphos was arraigned on one count of fifth-degree felony trafficking in drugs and one fifth-degree felony count of trafficking in a counterfeit controlled substance. He was released on bond.