A jury in Summit County found a Cleveland man guilty of the charges filed against him for a rash of break-ins at local businesses. The defendant, who decided to represent himself in court, was sentenced in the Summit County Common Pleas Court to four and a half years in prison.

The defendant was charged with four counts of breaking and entering. He was also charged with possessing criminal tools, receiving stolen property, driving under suspension and obstructing official business. During the trial, the charges of possession of criminal tools and driving under suspension were dismissed.

According to prosecutors, the break-ins occurred from 2013 to 2016 at four businesses. During the break-ins, a vehicle was rammed through the business’ doors or windows and then items were stolen from inside. DNA samples taken from the four crime scenes matched the DNA of the defendant.

Prosecutors believe the defendant could possibly be linked to at least 15 break-ins in and around the Akron, Ohio, area. All of the break-ins occurred at businesses. The defendant, while representing himself at trial, did not take the stand and did not call any witnesses.

Guilty verdicts were returned quickly in the case, except for one of the breaking-and-entering charges against the defendant. The jury was deadlocked on that one charge. By the next day, the jury came back with a guilty verdict on that previously deadlocked charge.

The assistant prosecutor for Summit County suggested that the defendant be sentenced to five and a half years in prison for his crimes. This was the maximum penalty allowed under law after the other two charges were dismissed. It was also suggested that the defendant pay restitution to the businesses victimized by the break-ins.

The defendant suggested to the judge that he only be sentenced to one year in prison for his crimes.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can answer all of your questions regarding your rights and defense strategies in Columbus, Ohio.

Source: Akron Beacon Journal, “Cleveland man who represented himself is sentenced to prison after being found guilty of all charges in break-ins,” Stephanie Warsmith, March 21, 2017