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Break-in defendant gets probation

Cary Ashby • Mar 28, 2014 at 1:07 PM

A break-in defendant will be screened for acceptance into a locked-down treatment center.

Donald T. Ott, 57, of 303 E. Main St., was fined $250 Thursday and must pay $158 to the victimized couples during his three years of his intensive probation. He's also prohibited from having any association with the couple or going on their property.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway said the victims are his friends and one of them is a classmate and wanted to know if defense attorney John Allton was comfortable proceeding with Thursday's sentencing hearing.

Allton said he and the state determined the most appropriate resolution to the case would be Ott going to a community-based corrections facility and a visiting judge might look at his client's record and sentence him to prison. Defendants spend four to six months in a CBCF, a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education. Given those circumstances, Allton said there's no problem with Conway handling the case.

"We're in agreement he be screened for a CBCF," Allton said about a sentencing recommendation with Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Dina Shenker.

Ott earlier pleaded guilty to breaking and entering for an Aug. 5 incident.

Conway said the victims suffered some psychological harm because Ott stole some drawings from their now-deceased daughter and they can't be replaced. Allton said Ott "has no recall about taking the drawings," but has been straight forward with him about stealing such items as spatulas and slippers.

The judge credited Ott with "moving in the right direction" with his sobriety, but said it's possible the CBCF won't accept him due to the medications he is taking. If that's the case, Ott would be brought back to court for a further sentencing hearing.

"My client does have some mental issues and alcohol issues," Allton said.

Ott must undergo psychological and substance-abuse counseling as a condition of probation. He also is subject to random drug screens. If he violates the terms of his community control sanctions, he faces one year in prison.

The defendant is scheduled to be released May 12 from the Huron County Jail for an unrelated sentence through Norwalk Municipal Court. Ott is serving a 75-day term for aggravated menacing. The Norwalk Police Department investigated the Dec. 4 incident.

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