Burglar avoids prison term, put on intensive probation

Judge to defendant: "Don't make me regret it."
Cary Ashby
Aug 4, 2014


"Good luck to you, Mr. Blackburn. Don't make me regret it."

That's what Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway said to convicted burglar Joseph Blackburn at the end of Wednesday's sentencing hearing.

"I did write down a prison sentence for you; this is a true second chance," Conway told him.

However, the judge said Blackburn and his attorney, Huron County Public Defender David Longo, convinced him not to impose a prison sentence since Blackburn had done a "significant amount of rehabilitation."

Blackburn, 28, of 3076 Hanville Corners Road, Monroeville, was eligible for a prison term due to having prior felony convictions. His criminal record includes multiple misdemeanors, felonies and probation violations.

"He's been to prison before," said Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Daivia Kasper, who recommended another prison term during Wednesday's proceedings.

Blackburn was sentenced to 180 days in the Huron County Jail on the work-release program. He will serve 120 of those days after he completes a separate, 44-day term for a probation violation through Norwalk Municipal Court. The remaining 60 days can be imposed at the discretion of Blackburn's felony probation officer, who also has the option of asking Conway to waive the sentence if Blackburn does well during his three years of intensive probation.

Also, Blackburn must pay $250 in restitution to the male burglary victim and was fined $250. He isn't allowed to have any contact with the victim or be on his property.

On June 17, Blackburn pleaded guilty to burglary. The Willard Police Department investigated the Sept. 7 incident when the victim returned home to discover a break-in.

"The victim in this case was frightened. He wasn't home at the time and was only out for lunch," Kasper said.

Blackburn's co-defendant, Willard resident Rebecca A. Hale, 24, is on the lam. On June 10, she pleaded guilty to burglary, but didn't stay for her July 23 sentencing hearing.

"She was in the courtroom. She spoke to her attorney, but left," Kasper said.

Conway has issued a warrant for Hale's arrest.

On Sept. 7, the defendants stole a 32-inch, flat-screen television from the victim's Willard apartment. Prosecutors said the pair went to Sandusky, sold the TV and traded it for drugs.

"Ms. Hale had the inside information. She had been inside the (victim's) home before," Longo said.

The public defender said although Blackburn entered the apartment with Hale, he was less culpable despite doing "the grunt work."

Conway asked the defendant if he knew the victim. Blackburn said he'd never met the man.

"(Hale) was an acquaintance through money for sex," the defendant told the judge.

Longo said Blackburn should get credit for his genuine, "Herculean efforts in climbing his way back up" after hitting rock bottom due to a heroin addiction. Blackburn has been attending AA and NA meetings in jail and has been involved in a church group. For the last two weeks of his latest jail term, he has been on the work release program.

"I'm receiving treatment now," he said, referring to the Life Steps, an intensive, out-patient program in Mansfield.

If Blackburn violates the terms of his probation, he faces 18 months in prison.



Does saying you attend church get you leniency? so tired of politics and religion being used as scapegoats for ridiculous behavior and bad choices.... Maybe I should "pray" on it.


Yeah it was ridiculous behavior and a bad choice which I am now paying for. The victim is being paid restitution. Should my daughter also be hurt by my decision by them sending me to prison instead of work release so I can't pay my child support or take care of her? Or they could just give me the max like most people want and you can pay to support her and pay for my 18 month vacation!


You violated probation, how many chances do you owe society? Not your first offense. Didn't learn from that one did ya?


Yeah I have violated and I payed my debt to society for those offenses. Obviously the judge saw something you didnt that I have changed between this offense and those seeing how he had the prison order wrote up and changed his mind deciding to give me another chance.


Well, hope works for you, better than I would have given you. Good Luck to you.


Thanks and I'm grateful judge Conway is on the bench and not you.


You deserve prison. You will be back on here soon because you're too stupid to change. Then when you are back on here, you gonna say the Devil made me do it? Again? Maybe going to prison would give you the wake up you need. And statistically MOST single mothers raising a child get assistance, so we are already paying to raise your daughter.


I deserve prison because you think I do? Obviously what you think doesn't matter in this county! No the devil didn't make me do anything I acted on free will and owned up to my mistakes that's why I'm doing work release now. Also going BACK to prison isn't going to give me a wake up call seeing as I've already done that twice. Yes my daughters mother was receiving assistance while I was in prison but I pay to take care of her now that why I said if I go back YOU would be paying for it instead of me as well as my vacation. Just because you don't want to believe it what the judge gave me is the best for all but thank you for your opinion.


The young man comes from a hard working family of honest people.


But he is not...


Thank you Texas! I believe I am working hard since the jail let's me leave for work 12 hours a day but again thanks for your uninformed opinion.


Good luck to you Joe. Unlike most people on here I choose to see the good in people and believe people can change. I'm glad you're trying to take back control of your life


Thanks I am


Thanks I am


Just remember Joe, You control your future by the decisions You make. Good luck kid.




Joe if you are related to the Blackburns that worked at Celeryville don't sully their good name. Do the right thing. Good luck to you.


I am related to them and I can't changed what has happened but I'm on a better course now. Thank you