A man who was caring for his disabled younger brother was sentenced today to 2-1/2 years in prison for punching him and threatening to slice off his genitals to “push the gay out of him.”
Fairfield County Common Pleas Judge Chris A. Martin sentenced Lawrence L. Featheroff, 38, to 30 months of incarceration after Featheroff admitted to the charges.
Featheroff, of Lancaster, pleaded guilty to attempted complicity to commit felonious assault and abduction, both third-degree felonies. A felony charge of domestic violence was dismissed as part of a negotiated plea deal.
Martin sentenced him to 30 months in prison for each crime, but said the sentences could run at the same time. He also ordered three years of probation for Featheroff after he serves his prison time.
Featheroff admitted to abusing Jason A. Meyers, 26, in the Lancaster home they shared with Featheroff’s girlfriend and an aunt and uncle. Detectives said Meyers is developmentally disabled but reasonably high-functioning.
He had gone to live with his brother after he’d been abused in a group home, according to testimony. Featheroff was given charge of his brother though Featheroff had served prison time for domestic violence.
Lancaster police found Meyers with a concussion, a sprained ankle and bruises on his face and around his eye when they checked on him on Jan. 15. That came after one of the men’s siblings called police, concerned that abuse might be occurring at the house.
Meyers told police that his brother; the brother’s girlfriend, Jamie R. Smith; and a family friend, Brent M. Disbennet, had hit him repeatedly, allowed him to eat only once a day and made him run up and down a hill carrying a heavy railroad tie.
Detective Brian Lowe testified at the sentencing hearing that Featheroff told investigators he was upset that his brother had told him he had sexual thoughts about men and boys.
Featheroff said he “wanted to toughen him up to push the gay out of him and make him a normal person,” Lowe testified.
He bloodied his brother’s nose on one occasion. Another time, he held a butcher knife under his genitals and threatened to cut them off, Lowe testified.
Meyers and Featheroff are among eight sibings who all were taken from their mother as children and sent to live with different foster families, some of whom adopted them.
They reunited as adults and have become a family again, said some of the siblings who attended the sentencing to support Featheroff. Some testified that Meyers could be challenging.
Police moved Meyers from the home at 538 Carpenter St. after the abuse and he now lives in adult foster care.
Smith, 40, has pleaded not guilty to complicity to commit felonious assault and abduction, and Disbennet, 25, to felonious assault. Their cases are pending.
By Mary Beth Lane - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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