WILMINGTON — A Springfield man with a long criminal record in Clinton County received a two-year prison term, despite a concerted effort by his attorney to show the defendant has changed and has a greater need now for rehabilitation than for the state penitentiary.
David A. Zitney, 51, pled guilty to two felony counts of receiving stolen property when he acquired a stolen 1997 Ford F-350 flatbed truck and for obtaining a 2005 Bumper Hitch Trailer that had been stolen.
Two other charges were dropped in a plea deal: one count of receiving stolen property with the Champion Bridge Company named as the victim, and a second count of grand theft with Master Feed Mill identified as the victim.
In delivering the sentence, Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck stated Zitney is “a career criminal.” There are nearly 20 felony convictions on the defendant’s record starting more than 30 years ago, the judge added in a written judgment entry.
Further, Zitney has served multiple prison terms, and during this most recent case here had pending warrants issued for his apprehension from as many as six separate courts, stated Rudduck.
“While substance use disorder may be the triggering event for the criminal activity,” the judge continued, “defendant has had ample time to change his ways and obtain treatment. The fact he has chosen now to obtain treatment is commendable but insufficient to overcome two of the primary purposes of felony sentencing, [which are] punishment of the offender and protecting the public.”
Zitney’s attorney, Susan M. Zurface Daniels of Cincinnati and formerly of Highland and Clinton Counties, argued Zitney was a candidate for a community-based correctional facility where he would reside about four to six months if he completed the programming.
“In this case, it is universally agreed that David’s drug dependency played the primary role in the commission of these offenses. David was driven by his need to find, purchase, and use heroin and he engaged in offenses involving stolen property in order to obtain additional property, to dispose of that property, and to get money that he would use to purchase drugs,” Zurface Daniels wrote in a memo.
She also stated that for Zitney it “may very well be a more difficult sentence for him to complete treatment requirements than the ease with which he could slip back into a prison mentality.”
Rudduck did indicate Zitney might not have to serve the full 24 months if he meets the conditions of an early release program as monitored by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction. This possibility is due to Zitney’s cooperation, “his apparent desire to finally seek recovery programs, [and] his apparent genuine remorse,” stated the judge.
In the plea agreement between prosecutors and the defendant, Zitney consented to paying restitution to two victims. He was granted time credit toward the prison term for the 41 days he served in the county jail on the case.
In an unrelated case, Johnny C. Sorrell, 36, of West Chester, received an 18-month prison sentence after he was found guilty of an attempted burglary of a home on State Route 134 north of Wilmington in Clinton County. The incident occurred in late April 2017.
According to an affidavit by a Clinton County Sheriff’s Office detective, a resident advised she was taking a shower when she heard a loud pounding sound. She then barricaded herself and her child in the bathroom and phoned for help. Shortly afterward Sorrell’s vehicle was pulled over in Port William by law enforcement, and through investigation, Sorrell was linked to the attempted burglary, stated the affidavit.
In addition to prison, Sorrell has forfeited any right to the 2002 Chevy S-10 pickup believed to have been used in committing the crime. He also was ordered to pay $2,400 restitution to the victims of the attempted burglary during which he reportedly kicked a hole into a door.
He was granted time credit for 155 days spent in the local jail on the case.
In another recent sentencing, Joshua T. Villars, 29, of Sabina, received a suspended six-month jail term and was put on community controls for a three-year term after being found guilty of trafficking drugs and possessing drugs.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.