The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Mar. 19, 2019

4 arraigned on grand jury indictments

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Four people were arraigned, three people changed their pleas, and one was sentenced during hearings held this week in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court.

Thomas Rupert, 64, of Van Wert, entered not guilty pleas to one count each of rape, a felony of the first degree; sexual battery, a second-degree felony; sexual battery, a felony of the third degree; and gross sexual imposition, a fourth-degree felony. 

Rupert was released on an unsecured personal surety bond, but was ordered to have no contact with alleged victims in the case. A pretrial conference will be held at 8 a.m. Wednesday, January 30.

Philip Raines Sr., 30, of Van Wert, pleaded not guilty to two counts of corrupting another with drugs, each a felony of the second degree; two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, each a felony of the third degree; and three counts of corrupting another with drugs, each a fourth-degree felony.

Raines was released on a surety bond, but ordered to have no contact with alleged victims in the case or their families. He will appear in court for a pretrial conference at 8 a.m. January 30.

Robert Rupert, 37, of Van Wert, entered not guilty pleas to two counts of permitting child abuse, each a felony of the third degree. 

He was released on a surety bond, but was ordered to follow all orders of Van Wert County Juvenile Court. He will appear for a pretrial conference at 8 a.m. January 30.

Lester Sulfridge Jr., 59, of Van Wert, pleaded not guilty to one count of operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI), a felony of the third degree, with an added specification that he is a report OVI offender, and one count of endangering children, a misdemeanor of the first degree.

He was released on a surety bond, but ordered not to operate any vehicle. A pretrial conference was scheduled for 8 a.m. January 30.

Three people also entered guilty pleas to a variety of charges.

Samantha Lacy, 26, of Van Wert, changed her plea to guilty to one count of aggravated possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree. A presentence investigation was ordered and sentencing was set for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, February 13.

Paula Garcia, 62, of Van Wert, entered a guilty plea to a prosecutor’s bill of information charging her with possession of criminal tools, a felony of the fifth degree, with a specification that she used a .25-caliber pistol in commission of the offense. A presentence investigation was ordered and sentenced scheduled for 9:30 a.m. February 13.

Bradley Sheets, 37, of Convoy, changed his plea to guilty to one count each of burglary, a felony of the second degree; aggravated trafficking in drugs, a third-degree felony; and receiving stolen property, a felony of the fourth degree. A presentence investigation was ordered and sentencing will be held at 9 a.m. Wednesday, February 27.

Also Wednesday, Dustin Stuckey, 33, of Middle Point, was sentenced to three years of community control, including up to six months at the Western Ohio Regional Treatment and Habilitation (WORTH) Center in Lima, on a charge of possession of heroin, a felony of the fifth degree.

Three people also appeared for hearings on bond and treatment in lieu of conviction programs this week.

Corey Elston, 28, of Van Wert, admitted to violating his bond and treatment in lieu of conviction program by having a positive drug test. Judge Martin D. Burchfield continued Elston’s substance abuse treatment program for another year from the date of his hearing.

Robert Thompson, 35, of Van Wert, admitted to violating his bind and treatment in lieu program by failing to appear for drug testing and using drugs. Judge Burchfield reinstated his treatment program for a new one-year period and released him on a surety bond.

Blaine Fromm, 28, of Lima, admitted to violating his bond and treatment in lieu program by failing to appear for drug testing. Bond in the case was set at $5,000 cash or commercial surety and sentencing was scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, February 6, following a presentence investigation.

POSTED: 01/10/19 at 12:38 am. FILED UNDER: News