Prison for man who skipped trial

A Columbus man who allegedly shot at a pregnant woman and then skipped out on his trial last August was sentenced Friday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to nine months in prison.

Shawn Williams, 23, of 969 E. Mount St., began crying when he learned prior to sentencing he would likely be sent to prison on the fourth-degree felony charge of breach of recognizance.

“I know I didn’t show up last time, but I’m here now,” Williams said to Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane.

Williams’ attorney, Nancy Brum, requested that her client be allowed to serve local jail time and be sentenced to community control instead of doing prison time.

“He doesn’t have much of an adult record. A lot of charges on his adult record were dismissed and they were related to this situation,” she said.

The situation to which Brum referred was a Feb. 10, 2011 shooting incident that resulted in Williams being indicted in April 2011 on three second-degree felony charges of felonious assault and a third-degree felony charge of tampering with evidence, said Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.

Williams allegedly shot at his then-pregnant ex-girlfriend and another man, resulting in the three felonious assault charges, he said.

The weapon-a BB gun-was broken down and thrown in a dumpster, resulting in the tampering with evidence charge, he said.

Williams was scheduled to go to trial on the charges Aug. 21, but he never showed up to trial.

The prosecution agreed to dismiss with prejudice the assault and tampering charges in exchange for Williams’ guilty plea on the breach of recognizance charge.

Difficulty reaching witnesses to the two-and-a-half-year-old shooting played into the decision to dismiss it, added Schneider.

“We had problems getting ahold of the witnesses,” he said, noting that some have moved out of state and some are unreachable.

However, dismissing the charges with prejudice gives the prosecutor’s office the ability to re-indict Williams on the charges within six years of the date of the crime.

Ohio law prevents many fourth-degree felony offenders from landing in prison. However, breaching his recognizance bond made Williams eligible, noted Lane.

“I don’t think there’s any judge in Ohio that takes more time to explain the importance of showing up while on bond than Ed Lane, and you chose not to listen,” the judge said.

Lane sentenced Williams to nine months in prison and gave him credit for 55 days served.