Set free: Accused burglar released from jail while awaiting trial
Oct 16, 2013 at 5:07 PM
A suspected burglar who apparently "wandered" into a victim's home is prohibited from being on the premises while the case is pending.
James M. Clarke, 24, of 56 State St., is charged with burglary, which is punishable by six to 18 months behind bars. With no prior felony conviction, he couldn't be sentenced to prison on the fourth-degree felony.
The charge is in connection with a Sept. 15 incident.
Sometime before 5 a.m., Clark allegedly entered the Norwalk house, crawled into the child’s bed, covered up and went to sleep. The disturbance woke up the child, an eighth-grader, so he went into the parents' room and told them: "Some strange guy is in my bed."
When confronted, the man appeared intoxicated and not sure where he was, the homeowner told police. The homeowner talked to the man while his wife called the police.
"(He) wandered in and went to sleep in a bed," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said at Tuesday's arraignment.
Huron County Public Defender David Longo said Clarke suffers from a relatively modest cranial hemorrhage after a crash and as a result, has some memory lapses.
"He had one beer that evening. He tested at .014 (percent)," Longo added. "He got disoriented and simply entered the wrong house."
The legal limit for drivers in Ohio is .08 percent.
Clarke told a Norwalk police officer "he believed he was in a friend's residence," according to a police report.
After being confronted, the defendant walked away and was arrested just north of the victims' South Linwood Avenue residence. Officers identified Clarke as the suspect after one of the victims reported he was wearing a yellow hooded sweatshirt.
Clarke's bond was set at $15,000 when the case went through Norwalk Municipal Court.
At Tuesday's arraignment, Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway followed Leffler's recommendation and released Clarke on a personal recognizance bond. That means the defendant signed a court document promising he would appear at future hearings without having to pay any money.
Clarke, whose trial date is Dec. 12, is subject to random drug screens.