Potential punishment increases for court no-show

A Marietta woman accused of stealing checks from a friend is now facing an additional felony charge and possible prison time after failing to show up Wednesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court for her sentencing.

Rebecca M. Hall, 38, of 85 Lang Farm Road, was scheduled to be sentenced on a single fifth-degree felony charge of theft of a check for stealing three checks from a friend in December. She had initially been indicted in February on three check theft charges, but eventually came to an agreement that allowed her to plead guilty to a single charge, said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Amy Graham.

An agreed sentencing disposition between the prosecution, defense attorney and judge in the case also stipulated the sentence Hall would receive on the charge, she added.

“She was going to do 30 days (in the Washington County Jail) and one year of community control,” said Graham.

Her failure to show for court could negate that agreement and could land Hall with an additional charge-a fourth-degree felony count of breach of recognizance.

Hall’s sentencing was scheduled for 3:30 p.m. However, she was still not present at the court by the time Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth began the hearing at 4:15 p.m. and issued a warrant for her arrest.

Burnworth asked Hall’s attorney, Shawna Landaker, if she had any information as to why her client was absent.

“I do not,” said Landaker.

Burnworth added that he would be inclined to cancel the warrant and proceed with the sentencing as planned if Hall showed up for sentencing early Thursday.

“If Ms. Hall comes rolling into your office the next 15 or 20 minutes or first thing in the morning saying ‘I messed up,’…If you can get her in here tomorrow, the prosecutor-I can’t say for sure-might not file a breach of recognizance,” said Burnworth.

Graham said the prosecution will consider foregoing the breach charge if Hall shows up to be sentenced on the theft charge Thursday.

Hall, who has no prior felonies, was not eligible for a prison sentence on the theft charge. However, missing her sentencing changed that. She could technically now face a year in prison on the theft charge. A breach of recognizance charge, if filed, would carry another potential 18 months.

Hall could also face charges in West Virginia, where she cashed the stolen checks. She reportedly forged a signature and cashed the three stolen checks at the Beachcomber in Williamstown. Graham was not aware Wednesday if charges against Hall had been filed in Wood County.