Armed burglar gets released early from prison

Cary Ashby • Oct 30, 2012 at 9:16 AM

A man who was intoxicated when he entered a rural New London's man home with a weapon has been released early from prison.

Nelson Horst, 39, of Shelby, had been in the Richland Correctional Institution since Aug. 9. In late May, he pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced about two months later to 17 months in prison.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway, at the time of Horst's mid-July sentencing, said he'd likely grant him early release and place him in a community based-corrections facility (CBCF). Defendants spend four to six months in a CBCF, a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education.

And that's exactly what Conway did at Monday's hearing.

Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler, who offered no objection, said he hopes Horst's time in prison served as a "wake-up call" and helped him learn a lesson. Attorneys refer to the process of being in prison a short time as "shock probation."

Defense attorney James Mayer Jr. said his client is an "excellent candidate" for a CBCF and is confident Horst "will take advantage of the opportunity." Mayer also said he's confident Horst won't do any more drinking.

Conway noted that Horst scored the lowest score he'd seen on a test that indicates whether defendants might re-offend.

"I hope that's reliable," said the judge, who also said he's "suspicious," given Horst's history of alcoholism.

Once Horst is released from the CBCF, he will be on three years of intensive probation.

The defendant also must pay a $1,000 fine and have no association with the victim, who has moved from Huron County. The man had accused Horst of attempting to have an affair with his wife.

Horst entered the man's Murray Road home uninvited March 30 and brandished a firearm at the armed homeowner, who was standing outside the bedrooms of his two children. The youngsters, 5 and 11, were home during the incident.

After Horst was sentenced originally, the victim told the Reflector he wouldn't have any problems pulling the trigger "if the situation would ever arise again."

"He was sick in the head," the victim said.

"My wife ended up blocking up his phone number the day he showed up at our house. He showed up at her work at 5 o'clock in the morning and about 11 hours later, he showed up at our house. My kids were home after school and he showed up about 20 minutes after four," the man said.

Horst will remain in the Huron County Jail until he is transferred to the CBCF.

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