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Drug defendant receives 6 months in prison

Cary Ashby • Aug 22, 2018 at 6:00 PM

A Norwalk man was sentenced Wednesday to six months in prison for a drug offense.

Lance D. Signs, 41, most recently of 208 Ohio 601, was sentenced for aggravated possession of carfentanil. Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway also gave him 180 days of post-release control time. 

Signs has been in the Huron County Jail since June 3, when he was arrested by sheriff’s deputies.

He was eligible for a prison sentence due to multiple local, felony convictions: Breaking-and-entering and theft (in 1997), theft of a firearm (2004), theft from the elderly (2009), breaking and entering (2012), trafficking in heroin (2013) and possession of cocaine (2015).

In a separate case, Joseph J. Claus, 44, most recently of 2254 W. Townline Road 131, Willard, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of gross sexual imposition, a third-degree felony. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors dismissed four similar fifth-degree felonies. His sentencing hearing is set for Oct. 11.

Norwalk Police Detective Dave Daniels investigated the case. He interviewed Claus twice as well as the complainant and victim’s mother. Huron County Children Services assisted with interviewing the female victim, a family member who was 12 years old at the time of the offense.

In early February 2016, Claus was sentenced to 17 months in prison for gross sexual imposition. The conviction was for an Oct. 10, 2015 incident at his apartment when the 13-year-old victim spent the night with her best friend.

Claus, who was released from prison about March 2017, is on mandatory parole for five years. Classified as a Tier I sex offender, he must register his address with the sheriff’s office for 15 years and can’t live within 1,000 feet of a school, preschool or daycare center.

“This new charge stems from an offense committed just a little before he touched my child,” the mother of the previous victim told the Reflector in June.

Most recently, Claus has been unable to post a $75,000 bond since his June 23 arrest.

In other hearings this week:

• Rickie Back, 41, most recently of 411 N. Main St., Willard, was sentenced Wednesday to pay $391 in restitution and was fined $250 for receiving stolen property. As part of his three years of probation, he has a 180-day jail sentence hanging over his head. Back’s probation officer has the discretion of when to impose part or all of the time without a hearing.

• Hope E. McVeigh, 36, most recently of 4278 Ohio 601, pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated possession of drugs in exchange for the dismissal of one count of having weapons while under disability. Her sentencing hearing is Oct. 11. McVeigh remains out on a $5,000 bond.

• Jonathan L. Stover, 44, most recently of 108 W. Pearl St., Suite 5, Willard, pleaded guilty Tuesday to having weapons while under disability in exchange for the dismissal of a similar third-degree felony and one count of aggravated possession of drugs. He will be sentenced Oct. 10. Stover remains out on a $2,500 bond.

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