Cody M. Markward looks back during his sentencing hearing Wednesday in Van Wert County Court of Common Pleas. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)
Cody M. Markward looks back during his sentencing hearing Wednesday in Van Wert County Court of Common Pleas. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)
A 21-year-old Van Wert man was sentenced to three years in prison on six counts related to sending pornographic materials and soliciting sex from juveniles.

Cody Markward was sentenced on two counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, two counts of attempted dissemination of matter harmful to juveniles, and two counts of importuning Wednesday afternoon in Van Wert County Court of Common Pleas. He was charged in connection with events during the first six months of 2010 involving two juveniles under the age 15. One of those girls was 11 years-old at the time. Her mother spoke at the sentencing hearing, saying, "I wasn't about to let you get away with this. I hope you know how wrong it is and never do anything like this again. It's bad enough you went after these school girls and you're married, but my daughter was only 11, and you knew that... She didn't deserve any of this. She was put in a very awkward situation at such an innocent age."

The offenses occurred while Markward was on active duty with the U.S. Army. The investigation itself included questioning of the defendant by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command in Mosul, Iraq.

Attorney William Kluge argued for a more lenient sentence for Markward based on diagnoses of post-traumatic stress syndrome, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and depression. "Cody has a lot of anger, a lot of issues that need to be addressed," he declared. "Now, where can those issues be best addressed? Obviously not prison."

The sentence handed down by Judge Charles D. Steele included two 18-month prison terms to be served consecutively and four 12-month prison terms which will run concurrently with one of the 18-month terms. Markward was also given credit for 250 days already served in connection with this case. Due to a mistake in reading the sentence, Markward will be brought in for re-sentencing Thursday morning.

In addition, Markward was declared a Tier One Sex Offender and will have to register each year with the Sheriff of the county where he lives for a period of 25 years.

It was an emotional sentencing hearing in the morning court session, as 44-year-old James C. Irwin was sentenced to one year in prison for having weapons under disability, a third-degree felony. Irwin had been stopped by Delphos Police in October when a patrolman recognized Irwin and knew he had no valid drivers license. During the stop, Irwin told the officer that he had a weapon in the car, which turned out to be a loaded .45 caliber pistol.

Through his attorney, Irwin claimed that he was carrying the gun because he was in fear for his life and for the life of his family.

An appeal from Irwin's 17-year old daughter and from his mother had the defendant weeping, as they asked Steele to keep Irwin out of prison to care for them. But in the end, it was a lengthy criminal record that decided Irwin's fate. Steele noted that the printout of prior charges took eight pages and that the criminal record extended back to 1982.

Irwin was given credit for 111 days already served in the case.

Billy Ray Gibson, II,  41, Van Wert, was placed on six months of electronically-monitored house arrest as part of two years of community control for misdemeanor domestic violence. He must also complete a psychological assessment and treatment program, perform 200 hours of community service, and pay fees and court costs. A 180-day jail sentence and $1,000 fine were deferred pending the successful completion of community control.

The murder case against Shawn Jones was continued until at least August while the defense conducts an investigator with a private investigator and while DNA evidence is examined. Jones was charged in the Oct. 1 strangulation death of his 84-year-old grandmother, Edna LaRue of Van Wert. He remains incarcerated in the Van Wert County Jail.

A pair of Portland, Indiana residents admitted to having the materials needed to make methamphetamine. Tyann Montalvo, 22, and Chad Bellis, 38, each entered guilty pleas to illegal assembly of materials for the manufacturing of drugs, a felony of the third degree. One count of second-degree felony illegal manufacturing of drugs against each of the two was dropped in exchange for the guilty plea.

The pair was picked up Feb. 28 in the sleeper section of a truck which was partially pulled to the side of U.S. 224 near the Lincoln Hwy. intersection, just west of Van Wert. State Highway Patrol troopers found meth ingredients in the truck.

Montalvo and Bellis each face up to five years in prison when they are sentenced May 18.

An 80-year-old Convoy man who tried to plead guilty to sex charges two weeks ago, but wouldn't admit that he was actually guilty, found himself back in Van Wert County Court of Common Pleas on Wednesday. This time, Richard L. Foley hesitated when Steele asked if he was pleading guilty because he was guilty as charge, but finally answered, "Yes."

Foley pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a fourth-degree felony, and will be sentenced on May 18. He will also be classified as a Tier Two Sexual Offender, and must register with law enforcement every six moths for the next 25 years. In exchange for the guilty plea, two more charges against Foley were dismissed. He was accused of having sexual conduct with a 13-year-old girl.

Two weeks ago, Foley appeared to be ready to plead guilty to one of the charges, but kept insisting that he was just pleading to "get it over with" and that he didn't actually believe he was guilty.

Also entering guilty pleas on Wednesday were:

• Christine Miller, 19, Van Wert, to fifth-degree felony receiving stolen property. 

• Tasha Comment, 27, Van Wert, to fourth-degree felony trafficking in drugs.

• Jordan Black 23, Van Wert, to three counts of trafficking in heroin, two fourth-degree felonies and one fifth-degree felony.

• Alyssa C. Bebout, 22, Van Wert, to fourth-degree felony trafficking in drugs, and a specification that she used a 1996 Chevrolet in the committing the crime. Bebout was also held on a bond violation for testing positive for heroin. She will be released to an inpatient rehabilitation program if she is accepted.

Miller, Comment, Black, and Bebout all face sentencing on May 18.

Bronson Pate, 29, Van Wert, admitted to a violation of his community control by using marijuana on Oct. 28, 2010. Pate's case was continued and he will be sentenced at a later date.

Zachary Baker was ordered held without bond until his May 11 sentencing for violating his bond by testing positive for marijuana and cocaine. He is also accused of stealing a television and car stereo from Walmart.

Jeremy T. Rollins was ordered held on a $10,000 cash bond for violating his parole by being charged with domestic violence on March 27.

A Michigan woman pleaded guilty and was placed on diversion. Rachel A. Oden, 33, Quincy, Michigan was arraigned Wednesday afternoon. If she pays 12 consecutive months of child support, the charge against her will be dismissed.