Sidney man sentenced to five years in prison


SIDNEY — The Shelby County Common Pleas Court sentenced Jerry J. Avant, 27, of Sidney, to five years in prison.

On March 27, 2021, police attempted to perform a traffic stop when Avant fled in his vehicle from the officer. As was driving, he threw two bags of Methamphetamine out his car window, hoping to dispose of the drugs before he was caught with them.

The effort failed, and once Avant was arrested, he was charged and indicted on a total of five misdemeanors and felonies.

These included a first degree felony indictment for aggravated possession of Methamphetamine, a fifth degree felony indictment for aggravated possession of Oxycodone, a third degree felony indictment for tampering with evidence, a first degree misdemeanor charge of failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer, and a first degree misdemeanor for driving under suspension.

After pleading guilty to a reduced charge of a third degree felony for one count of aggravated possession of Methamphetamine, and one count of tampering with evidence, also a third degree felony, with the agreement that the other charges would be dismissed. Each third degree felony carried with it an assigned a prison term of 30 months, which are to be served consecutively over a period of five years.

Rebecca Louise Bowling, 52, of Lockington and Piqua, was sentenced to a total of two and a half years in prison for three separate crimes where the prison terms will run consecutively. Bowling was sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to the charge of failure to appear, a fourth degree felony, on Sept. 23, 2121. This sentence is to run consecutive to her two other sentences, also issued after a entering a guilty plea on the same date. The two other charges for which she was found guilty were counterfeiting, a fourth degree felony, to which Bowling was sentenced to one year in prison with up to two years of probation afterward, and aggravated possession of drugs, a fourth degree felony, to which she was sentenced to one year in prison with up to two years of probation. For a period of one year, between August 2020 and August 2021, Bowling was found to have created and disseminated counterfeit checks, a second degree felony. On or about Jan. 5, 2020, Bowling was found in possession of between three and five times the bulk amount of Methamphetamine, a third degree felony. She had also been charged with possession of criminal tools, but that charge was later dismissed.

Mark A. LeMaster, 52, at large, was sentenced to two years in prison (1 year for each offense to be served consecutively), as well as all prosecution costs. This sentence is to be followed consecutive to the roughly 11 month sentence LeMaster is currently serving for possession of drugs, a fifth degree felony. On or about June 24, 2020, LeMaster sold or offered to sell the following: Cocaine, Heroin, Fentanyl, and Methamphetamine, and was initially charged with seven felony drug trafficking charges, of which four were fifth degree felonies for trafficking in drugs, and two were fourth degree felonies for aggravated trafficking in drugs. On May 3, 2021, he entered a plea of not guilty and a $5,000 bond was set. On Aug. 23, 2021, in a plea deal, LeMaster changed his plea to the two fourth degree felonies to guilty, while the other charges were dismissed. His current sentence is a result of possession of Methamphetamine on or about Dec. 28, 2019.

Giovanni Edoardo Ruiu, 26, of London, was sentenced to 10 years of probation (five for each count), after pleading guilty on Sept. 16, 2021, to two counts of fourth degree felonies for trafficking in drugs (Fentanyl and Tramadol) in the vicinity of a school. Three additional counts were dismissed. One dismissed count was for allegedly trafficking in drugs (Fentanyl) in the vicinity of a school, a fourth degree felony, on or about June 10. Two additionally dismissed counts were each fourth degree felonies for allegedly engaging in aggravated trafficking in drugs (Methamphetamine) on or about June 11, 2020 and July 7, 2020. Previously, on Jan. 15, 2021, Ruiu had been convicted of a fifth degree felony for possession of drugs (Fentanyl) for which he was sentenced an 11 month prison term and a discretionary three year probation, with a stipulation that up to one additional year could be added should he violate his probation by committing another felony. He had been initially indicted for an additional charge of possessing criminal tools, a fifth degree felony, which was dismissed. On Sept. 15, 2020 he was indicted on two counts of receiving stolen property, a 2017 Jeep and a license plate, a fourth and fifth degree felonies, respectively. He pleaded guilty to the fifth degree felony, while the fourth degree felony was dismissed. He was sentenced to serve 11 months of prison with an optional three years of probation, in which up to an additional year could be added on if he committed another felony. Prior to being convicted for trafficking in drugs, Ruiu had been convicted for several alcohol- and drug-related misdemeanors and felonies, including (but not limited to) an open container in 2013, underage possession of alcohol and a DUI in 2015, aggravated possession of drugs in 2018 (Methamphetamine), attempted possession of drugs (Methamphetamine) in 2019, and possession of drugs (Fentanyl) in 2020.

The inability to follow the rules of probation resulted in additional sentencing.

James D. Franklin, 65, of Sidney, was sentenced to 30 days in the Shelby County Jail, completion of the Star House program, and all costs. On or about Sept. 28, 2021, Franklin tested positive for and admitted using THC and cocaine in violation of his probation. Previously, Franklin was charged with trafficking in drugs (cocaine), a fifth degree felony, but was convicted of a lesser offense, attempted trafficking in drugs, which is a first degree misdemeanor, on May 27, 2021. He was sentenced to serve up to five years of probation. Franklin was also previously convicted of passing bad checks in 1994, 1995, 1997, as well as receiving stolen property in 2001. In 2006, he was reportedly in prison.


By Shannon Bohle


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