Arsonist, pharmacy robber plead guilty

By Jim Painter - For the Sidney Daily News

SIDNEY – A Sidney man has admitted to starting the fire at an Oak Avenue home which caused extensive damage on Sept. 24, 2018, and also endangered an occupant. The two-family, two-story home was occupied by a lone resident at the time of the blaze.

Also, a Dayton man was told to expect a prison term when he took a plea change agreement regarding a robbery at a Sidney pharmacy.

It was two of several cases heard recently by Shelby County Common Pleas Court Judge James Stevenson.

Josey Rafferty, 33, pleaded guilty to an amended charge of arson, a fourth-degree felony, recently. Originally charged with aggravated arson, a second-degree felony, Rafferty was able to plea to the lesser charge due his continuing efforts to cooperate with local officials.

During his final pretrial, Rafferty entered the guilty plea admitting to setting fire to the residence at 314 Oak Ave. The fire displaced two occupants and caused $60,000 in damage to the structure and $15,000 to the contents.

At 7:36 that morning, city firefighters were called to the fire that had heavy fire coming from the front porch and one side of the house. One resident was able to escape unharmed as a second occupant was not home.

Rafferty will be required to register annually with local authorities regarding the arson conviction for the remainder of his life, according to online court records.

When sentenced he faces a maximum of 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. His sentencing date has not been set.

Rafferty remains incarcerated at the Shelby County Jail on a $20,000 cash bond.

Khavaughn Anquan Cochran, 21, Dayton, pleaded guilty to a charge of robbery, a second-degree felony. Authorities dropped two drug-related charges to gain the robbery conviction.

According to court records, Cochran faces a maximum sentence of eight years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Court records show Cochran was informed he would be sent to prison when sentenced. He is currently being held at the Shelby County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

On Nov. 26, Cochran entered the Sidney CVS Pharmacy, 324 Fourth Ave., and attempted to take approximately $1,000 worth of oxycodone and hydrocodone around 1 p.m.

Police dispatchers received a call from CVS employees alerting them of the robbery, and that the suspect had fled northbound on foot.

Cochran had supposedly passed a note to the employees threatening harm if they did not comply. He had a hand in his pocket, leading employees to believe he may have been carrying a gun, according to reports.

Officers arrived and began searching for Cochran when K-9 officer Kilo was released. The canine caught and stopped Cochran a block away near 430 Fourth Ave.

In July, Chadd Wayne Hutchinson, 33, incarcerated, was sentenced to 20 days in jail for a probation violation. Another probation violation has resulted in a 180-day stay at the county jail.

He was originally found guilty of simple assault, a first-degree misdemeanor, when he ordered his pit bull dog to attack a person on Dec. 10, 2017.

Steven P. Sommer, 49, 19835 Johnston Road, was sentenced 45 days in jail on each charge of trespass in a habitation, a fourth-degree felony, and, possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony, which will be served concurrently, or at the same time. He was given another three days for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, a first-degree misdemeanor, which will be served consecutively.

Sommer will report to the jail on Feb. 1 and participate in the work release program. He will be placed on five years of community control upon his release.

On May 5, Sommer broke into a home carrying a knife while a woman was in the residence. He took two cell phones and was found to have cocaine in his possession when arrested.

WORTH Center program ordered

In other cases:

• Phillip D. McCloskey, 21, 132 Pike St., was placed on five years of probation and ordered to successfully complete the program at the Western Ohio Regional Treatment and Habilitation (WORTH) Center in Lima in two separate cases.

He had entered a guilty plea to a charge of burglary, a fourth-degree felony.

McCloskey was one of four people who entered a home at 843 Meri Lane on May 26 to purposely inflict physical harm on someone.

While under the burglary indictment, McCloskey was arrested while in possession of handgun on Sept. 16. He pleaded guilty to an amended charge of attempted having a weapon under disability, a fourth-degree felony.

He remains housed at the county jail until transported to the WORTH Center.

• Tyler Mohr, 27, of Piqua, was placed on five years of community control on charges of possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony, and attempted illegal tampering with evidence, a fourth-degree felony. He was also ordered to obtain drug and alcohol counseling, complete the Thinking for a Change program, was fined $200 and assessed court costs.

Mohr was found guilty of hiding a small package of heroin in the police cruiser during his arrest on July 12.

• Charles Mitchell Williams II, 26, 9000 County Road 25A, was placed on five years of community control to a charge of attempted grand theft, a fourth-degree felony. He was found guilty of breaking into lockers at the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA.

He was also ordered to pay $637 in restitution to three victims, maintain employment and was assessed court costs.

Williams was suspected of entering lockers and taking items. When a surveillance operation was conducted, Williams was arrested on Sept. 7. He was found to have stolen a handgun and $150 cash from a truck in the parking lot.

• Chasity R. Harness, 39, 602 Monroe St., was placed on five years of community control on a charge of aggravated trafficking in drugs, a third-degree felony. She was also ordered to forfeit $293 in cash seized by authorities when she was arrested with Methamphetamine on Sept. 13.

She was fined $400 and assessed court costs.

She was ordered to the county jail until she was transported to Lima for the WORTH Center program.

By Jim Painter

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.