Judge to convicted huffer: Prove you can stay sober

Cary Ashby • Apr 25, 2014 at 1:07 PM

A Norwalk man convicted of sniffing glue or huffing duster is on three years of intensive probation.

Kane M. Ortman, 21, of 15 W. Washington St., is subject to random drugs during his community control sanctions.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway said Ortman's pre-sentence evaluation and interview indicates he's at a high risk to re-offend, but the judge said that's mostly due to his history of substance abuse. Conway told Ortman he needs to prove he can remain sober and be successful with out-patient treatment.

Ortman, in late February, pleaded guilty to one count of abuse of harmful intoxicants in exchange for prosecutors dismissing a second, similar charge.

The Norwalk Police Department investigated incidents on Dec. 5 and 8 in which witnesses saw Ortman huffing duster, which typically is used to clean computer instruments.

"Each (charge) was one day of glue sniffing," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said earlier.

Two officers responded to two 9-1-1 calls Dec. 5. Ortman was lying on the ground and unresponsive during the second call. Capt. Mike Conney has said the officers had to wrestle him to the ground when "there was some physical resistance on his part."

"I do believe he is remorseful," Huron County Public Defender David Longo said Wednesday.

Ortman spent 136 days in the Huron County Jail. The judge credited him with the time and sentenced him Wednesday to an 180-day discretionary term. That means Ortman's probation officer has the option of deciding when he serves the remaining 44 days or could ask the court to waive the sentence if he does particularly well on community control sanctions. If Ortman violates the terms of his probation, he faces one year in prison.

While Ortman was in jail, he regularly attended NA meetings, which he reportedly wants to continue attending.

This isn't Ortman's first drug-related run-in with local authorities.

During a July 1, 2012 injury crash, the state Highway Patrol's Norwalk post determined Ortman's blood was positive for marijuana usage. The patrol reported he tested at 10.32 ng/ml. The legal limit for drivers in Ohio is 5 ng/ml.

Ortman was sentenced to a 30-day term in the Huron County Jail for driving under the influence. As part of his two years of probation, he had his driver's license suspended for six months starting July 9, 2012, according to Norwalk Municipal Court records.

He also was charged with failure to control after his vehicle hit a tree and caught fire on Jericho Road. Citizens Ambulance transported Ortman and his passenger, Michael A. Price, who was 17 at the time, to Fisher-Titus Medical Center with minor injuries.

In September 2011, Ortman and Aaron M. Friel, now 20, each received a six-month jail term for animal cruelty convictions for an incident the previous month.

Prosecutors have said the pair dug a hole at the Collins residence where Ortman lived at the time, tied a 2-year-old yellow Labrador retriever to a nearby fence post and beat him to death with a shovel.

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