Judge gives defendant 'benefit of the doubt'

Cary Ashby • Jan 3, 2014 at 6:40 PM

A convicted vehicle thief who had been traveling from Greenwich to Cleveland for work is accused of violating the terms of his probation.

Anthony S. McQuillen, 41, of 2999 Washburn Road, Willard, was released on a personal recognizance bond after Monday's hearing in Huron County Common Pleas Court. That means he signed a court document promising he would appear for future hearings and didn't have to pay any money.

McQuillen has worked at a Willard factory for about five weeks and has a chance to make the employment permanent.

"I want to see if you can keep the job while the (Jan. 27) merits hearing is pending," Judge Jim Conway told him.

The judge reminded McQuillen he was getting "the benefit of the doubt" since he hadn't been in court since being sentenced four years ago.

On Nov. 19, 2009, McQuillen was sentenced to 90 days in the Huron County Jail for one count each of theft of a motor vehicle and failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer. Also as part of his probation, he had his driver's license suspended for three years and was fined $250.

The incident happened July 11, 2009.

Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Daivia Kasper had requested the defendant be held without bond. After McQuillen changed his address, she said the defendant "was essentially AWOL."

When McQuillen was arrested, he reportedly tested positive for cocaine and THC, Kasper said.

Huron County Public Defender David Longo said McQuillen used half of his salary in his previous job traveling from Greenwich to Cleveland.

"He got behind and lost his apartment," Longo said.

"He was in Norwalk this whole time," the public defender added about the AWOL allegation.

McQuillen reportedly rode his bicycle from his Newton Street apartment at the time to meet with probation officer Jim Zappa in September. Zappa and McQuillen briefly disagreed in court Monday about a reporting schedule and what McQuillen's probation officer said to him about four months ago.

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