After the burglary victim confronted the defendant with a firearm, the suspect ran from the scene.
"He spun and ran. When he got out to the road, he dropped his cell phone," the male victim told a judge Thursday.
Norwalk resident Mark A. Noller, 37, faced sentencing in Huron County Common Pleas Court. He earlier pleaded guilty to burglary for a Dec. 2 offense and breaking and entering for a Dec. 23 crime.
Noller received the maximum time on both felonies -- three years in prison for the burglary, an amended third-degree felony and one year for breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony. He will serve the four year-term consecutively to a separate 11-month sentence that is being appealed.
Noller's convictions were part of a crime spree in Norwalk. The Huron County Sheriff's Office and Norwalk Police Department investigated the cases.
"(It's) lucky somebody wasn't harmed or injured in one of those offenses," said Conway, who ruled the maximum sentences are necessary to protect the public.
The judge, both attorneys and the victim said it's obvious Noller hasn't improved his behavior, given his lengthy criminal history. The defendant's record includes eight prison terms and while Conway said he didn't count how many times Noller had been placed on probation, the judge said "it was at least in the teens."
Noller's juvenile record is "as long as any I've seen," Conway said. The judge also noted Noller says he's remorseful, but his behavior proves otherwise.
"You keep re-offending, doing the same thing over and over again," Conway said.
Noller quietly expressed remorse for the offenses Wednesday, saying he didn't want to hurt anyone.
"He has a clear path (showing) he won't be rehabilitated. I think that the court has been too lenient with him. I think the citizens of Huron County deserve more," the victim said.
Noller, after entering his guilty pleas March 21, the court released him on bond and he had an overdose shortly afterward. That same day the Norwalk Police Department arrested him on a shoplifting charge. Noller, who had his bond revoked, called the overdose a "wake-up call."
Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said having Noller out on bond didn't do anybody any favors. Releasing the defendant was part of a plea deal with defense attorney Nancy Jennings.
"I think he needs a few years away so he can get off this heroin," Leffler told the court. "This is a thick phone book of a criminal record."
About the victims, Leffler said people don't deserve to be away from their home only to return and find there had been a break-in. He also said the armed homeowner expressed fear and said it bothered him to have to pull a gun on Noller.
"He doesn't want to shoot anybody," Leffler said.
"Mr. Noller should have known better. I don't know how to get through to him," the prosecutor said.
Jennings, the defendant's lawyer, admitted she doesn't know her client as well as Leffler does, but said it's obvious he doesn't have the coping skills not to use drugs.
"He's thieving to support his habit. ... I see this pattern happening over and over again," said Jennings, who recommended Noller receive drug treatment.